Mobile genetic elements and their contribution to the emergence of antimicrobial resistant Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2010 Jun;16(6):541-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03226.x.


Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) including plasmids and transposons are pivotal in the dissemination and persistence of antimicrobial resistance in Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium. Enterococcal MGEs have also been shown to be able to transfer resistance determinants to more pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Despite their importance, we have a limited knowledge about the prevalence, distribution and genetic content of specific MGEs in enterococcal populations. Molecular epidemiological studies of enterococcal MGEs have been hampered by the lack of standardized molecular typing methods and relevant genome information. This review focuses on recent developments in the detection of MGEs and their contribution to the spread of antimicrobial resistance in clinically relevant enterococci.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques / methods
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / genetics*
  • Enterococcus faecium / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus faecium / genetics*
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Humans
  • Interspersed Repetitive Sequences*
  • Molecular Epidemiology / methods


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents