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Enterococcus faecalis Constitutes an Unusual Bacterial Model in Lysozyme Resistance

Hébert, Laurent, Courtin, Pascal, Torelli, Riccardo, Sanguinetti, Maurizio, Chapot-Chartier, Marie-Pierre, Auffray, Yanick, Benachour, Abdellah
Infection and immunity 2007 v.75 no.11 pp. 5390-5398
Enterococcus faecalis, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, acetylation, bacteria, genes, lysozyme, macrophages, mice, models, muramic acid, mutants, peptidoglycans, protein products, sequence analysis
Lysozyme is an important and widespread compound of the host constitutive defense system, and it is assumed that Enterococcus faecalis is one of the few bacteria that are almost completely lysozyme resistant. On the basis of the sequence analysis of the whole genome of E. faecalis V583 strain, we identified two genes that are potentially involved in lysozyme resistance, EF_0783 and EF_1843. Protein products of these two genes share significant homology with Staphylococcus aureus peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase (OatA) and Streptococcus pneumoniae N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase (PgdA), respectively. In order to determine whether EF_0783 and EF_1843 are involved in lysozyme resistance, we constructed their corresponding mutants and a double mutant. The ΔEF_0783 mutant and ΔEF_0783 ΔEF_1843 double mutant were shown to be more sensitive to lysozyme than the parental E. faecalis JH2-2 strain and ΔEF_1843 mutant were. However, compared to other bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes or S. pneumoniae, the tolerance of ΔEF_0783 and ΔEF_0783 ΔEF_1843 mutants towards lysozyme remains very high. Peptidoglycan structure analysis showed that EF_0783 modifies the peptidoglycan by O acetylation of N-acetyl muramic acid, while the EF_1843 deletion has no obvious effect on peptidoglycan structure under the same conditions. Moreover, the EF_0783 and EF_1843 deletions seem to significantly affect the ability of E. faecalis to survive within murine macrophages. In all, while EF_0783 is currently involved in the lysozyme resistance of E. faecalis, peptidoglycan O acetylation and de-N-acetylation are not the main mechanisms conferring high levels of lysozyme resistance to E. faecalis.