The present study compared the recently developed multilocus sequence typing (MLST) approach with a well-established molecular typing technique, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), for subspecies differentiation of Enterococcus faecalis isolates. We sequenced intragenic regions of three E. faecalis antigen-encoding genes (ace, encoding a collagen and laminin adhesin; efaA, encoding an endocarditis antigen; and salA, encoding a cell wall associated antigen) and one housekeeping gene (pyrC) of 22 E. faecalis isolates chosen largely for their temporal and geographical diversity, but also including some outbreak isolates. MLST analysis of polymorphic regions of these four genes identified 13 distinct sequence types (STs) with different allelic profiles; the composite sequences generated from the four sequenced gene fragments of individual isolates showed 98.3 to 100% identity among the 22 isolates. We also found that the allelic profiles from two sequences, ace and salA, were sufficient to distinguish all 13 STs of this study. The 13 STs corresponded to 12 different PFGE types, with one previously designated PFGE clone (a widespread U.S. clone of β-lactamase-producing isolates) being classified into two highly related STs which differed at 2 of 2,894 bases, both in the same allele. MLST also confirmed the clonal relationships among the isolates of two other PFGE clonal groups, including vancomycin resistant isolates. Thus, this pilot study with representative E. faecalis isolates suggests that, similar to PFGE, the sequence-based typing method may be useful for differentiating isolates of E. faecalis to the subspecies level in addition to identifying outbreak isolates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)