Evolution of Enterococcus faecium in Response to a Combination of Daptomycin and Fosfomycin Reveals Distinct and Diverse Adaptive Strategies

Adeline Supandy, Heer H. Mehta, Truc T. Tran, William R. Miller, Rutan Zhang, Libin Xu, Cesar A. Arias, Yousif Shamoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Infections caused by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) are an important public health threat. VREfm isolates have become increasingly resistant to the front-line antibiotic daptomycin (DAP). As such, the use of DAP combination therapies with other antibiotics like fosfomycin (FOS) has received increased attention. Antibiotic combinations could extend the efficacy of currently available antibiotics and potentially delay the onset of further resistance. We investigated the potential for E. faecium HOU503, a clinical VREfm isolate that is DAP and FOS susceptible, to develop resistance to a DAP-FOS combination. Of particular interest was whether the genetic drivers for DAP-FOS resistance might be epistatic and, thus, potentially decrease the efficacy of a combinatorial approach in either inhibiting VREfm or in delaying the onset of resistance. We show that resistance to DAP-FOS could be achieved by independent mutations to proteins responsible for cell wall synthesis for FOS and in altering membrane dynamics for DAP. However, we did not observe genetic drivers that exhibited substantial cross-drug epistasis that could undermine the DAP-FOS combination. Of interest was that FOS resistance in HOU503 was largely mediated by changes in phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) flux as a result of mutations in pyruvate kinase (pyk). Increasing PEP flux could be a readily accessible mechanism for FOS resistance in many pathogens. Importantly, we show that HOU503 was able to develop DAP resistance through a variety of biochemical mechanisms and was able to employ different adaptive strategies. Finally, we showed that the addition of FOS can prolong the efficacy of DAP and slow down DAP resistance in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Enterococcus
  • antibiotic resistance
  • daptomycin
  • drug resistance evolution
  • fosfomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of Enterococcus faecium in Response to a Combination of Daptomycin and Fosfomycin Reveals Distinct and Diverse Adaptive Strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this