Movable genetic elements and antibiotic resistance in enterococci

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1990 Feb;9(2):90-102. doi: 10.1007/BF01963632.


The enterococci possess genetic elements able to move from one strain to another via conjugation. Certain enterococcal plasmids exhibit a broad host range among gram-positive bacteria, but only when matings are performed on solid surfaces. Other plasmids are more specific to enterococci, transfer efficiently in broth, and encode a response to recipient-produced sex pheromones. Transmissible non-plasmid elements, the conjugative transposons, are widespread among the enterococci and determine their own fertility properties. Drug resistance, hemolysin, and bacteriocin determinants are commonly found on the various transmissible enterococcal elements. Examples of the different systems are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteriocins / analysis
  • Conjugation, Genetic*
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Enterococcus faecalis / genetics*
  • Hemolysin Proteins / analysis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / drug effects
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Sex Attractants / genetics
  • Sex Attractants / pharmacology


  • Bacteriocins
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Sex Attractants