The cell wall-targeting antibiotic stimulon of Enterococcus faecalis

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 3;8(6):e64875. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064875. Print 2014.


Enterococcus faecalis is an opportunistic nosocomial pathogen that is highly resistant to a variety of environmental insults, including an intrinsic tolerance to antimicrobials that target the cell wall (CW). With the goal of determining the CW-stress stimulon of E. faecalis, the global transcriptional profile of E. faecalis OG1RF exposed to ampicillin, bacitracin, cephalotin or vancomycin was obtained via microarrays. Exposure to the β-lactams ampicillin and cephalotin resulted in the fewest transcriptional changes with 50 and 192 genes differentially expressed 60 min after treatment, respectively. On the other hand, treatment with bacitracin or vancomycin for 60 min affected the expression of, respectively, 377 and 297 genes. Despite the differences in the total number of genes affected, all antibiotics induced a very similar gene expression pattern with an overrepresentation of genes encoding hypothetical proteins, followed by genes encoding proteins associated with cell envelope metabolism as well as transport and binding proteins. In particular, all drug treatments, most notably bacitracin and vancomycin, resulted in an apparent metabolic downshift based on the repression of genes involved in translation, energy metabolism, transport and binding. Only 19 genes were up-regulated by all conditions at both the 30 and 60 min time points. Among those 19 genes, 4 genes encoding hypothetical proteins (EF0026, EF0797, EF1533 and EF3245) were inactivated and the respective mutant strains characterized in relation to antibiotic tolerance and virulence in the Galleria mellonella model. The phenotypes obtained for two of these mutants, ΔEF1533 and ΔEF3245, support further characterization of these genes as potential candidates for the development of novel preventive or therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Wall / drug effects
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / cytology*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / drug effects
  • Enterococcus faecalis / genetics
  • Enterococcus faecalis / pathogenicity
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Genetic Loci
  • Kinetics
  • Lepidoptera / drug effects
  • Lepidoptera / microbiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Transcriptome / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / genetics
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Virulence / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE45306