Enterococcus faecalis from patients with chronic periodontitis: virulence and antimicrobial resistance traits and determinants

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Mar;31(3):267-72. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1305-z. Epub 2011 Jun 10.


This study investigated the presence of virulence and resistance traits, as well as their genetic determinants in subgingival Enterococcus faecalis from patients with chronic periodontitis. Twenty-four E. faecalis strains from a previously multi-locus sequence typing (MLST)-characterized strain collection were examined for virulence-associated phenotypes, antimicrobial susceptibility, and virulence- and antimicrobial-resistant determinants. Gelatinase, hemolysin, and biofilm production were detected in 50, 17, and 100% of the strains, respectively. Genes encoding adherence factors such as ace, efaA, and bopD were detected in all isolates. Other putative virulence determinants, i.e., EF3314, gelE, asa, esp, cylA, ef1841/fsrC, and asa373, were found in a portion of the strains. Different levels of resistance were observed in these strains, with two strains expressing high-level resistance to erythromycin and gentamicin. The integrase gene and accessory gene(s) of the Tn916/Tn1545 family were detected in ten strains. A direct link was shown between the presence of Tn916/Tn1545-like elements and resistance to doxycycline and/or erythromycin. The results demonstrated that virulence and antibiotic resistance determinants were prevalent in oral E. faecalis strains. It implicates that oral E. faecalis might play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic periodontitis and be a potential reservoir for the transferable elements of virulence and antimicrobial resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Adhesion / genetics
  • Biofilms
  • Chronic Periodontitis / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / genetics*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / pathogenicity
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Gelatinases / genetics
  • Gelatinases / metabolism
  • Gentamicins / pharmacology
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Virulence


  • Gentamicins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Erythromycin
  • Gelatinases