Enterococcus faecalis ebp pili are important for cell-cell aggregation and intraspecies gene transfer

Sabina Leanti La Rosa, Maria Camila Montealegre, Kavindra V. Singh, Barbara E. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Enterococcus faecalis is an opportunistic pathogen that ranks among the leading causes of biofilm-associated infections. We previously demonstrated that the endocarditis- and biofilmassociated pili (Ebp) of E. faecalis play a major role in biofilm formation, adherence to abiotic surfaces and experimental infections. In this study, derivatives of E. faecalis strain OG1 were engineered to further characterize functions of Ebp pili. Loss of pili resulted in a 36-fold decrease in the number of closely associated cells when OG1RFΔebpABC was mixed with OG1SSpΔebpABC, compared with mixing the Ebp+ parental strains. In addition, using the Ebp+ parental strains as donor and recipient, we found a statistically significant increase (280–360 %, P<0.05) in the frequency of plasmid transfer versus using Ebp- mutants in the conjugation experiments. These results demonstrate a previously unrecognized role of Ebp pili, namely, as important contributors to microscale cell aggregation and horizontal spread of genetic material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number000276
Pages (from-to)798-802
Number of pages5
JournalMicrobiology
Volume162
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

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