Phenotypic variation of Staphylococcus epidermidis isolated from a patient with native valve endocarditis

J Clin Microbiol. 1992 Sep;30(9):2385-90. doi: 10.1128/jcm.30.9.2385-2390.1992.


Two colonial variants of Staphylococcus epidermidis were isolated from the valvular tissue of a patient with native valve endocarditis. In addition to differing in colonial morphology, the two variants differed in hemolysis on blood-containing media, in adherence capacity, and in the expression of certain enzymes. Under suitable conditions, both variants were themselves capable of phenotypic variation, although they differed in the rate at which variants were generated. The variants yielded identical profiles on restriction endonuclease analysis of plasmid DNA and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of whole-cell DNA. This report suggests a possible role for phenotypic variation in coagulase-negative staphylococcal virulence. Congo red agar would be an excellent medium for studying the contribution of variation to the virulence of these organisms.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aortic Valve / microbiology*
  • Aortic Valve / pathology
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hemolysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / isolation & purification
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial