Contribution of the collagen adhesin Acm to pathogenesis of Enterococcus faecium in experimental endocarditis.

Publication Date



Infection and Immunity


Enterococcus faecium is a multidrug-resistant opportunist causing difficult-to-treat nosocomial infections, including endocarditis, but there are no reports experimentally demonstrating E. faecium virulence determinants. Our previous studies showed that some clinical E. faecium isolates produce a cell wall-anchored collagen adhesin, Acm, and that an isogenic acm deletion mutant of the endocarditis-derived strain TX0082 lost collagen adherence. In this study, we show with a rat endocarditis model that TX0082 Deltaacm::cat is highly attenuated versus wild-type TX0082, both in established (72 h) vegetations (P < 0.0001) and for valve colonization 1 and 3 hours after infection (P or=50-fold reduction relative to an Acm producer) were found in three of these five nonadherent isolates, including the sequenced strain TX0016, by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, indicating that acm transcription is downregulated in vitro in these isolates. However, examination of TX0016 cells obtained directly from infected rat vegetations by flow cytometry showed that Acm was present on 40% of cells grown during infection. Finally, we demonstrated a significant reduction in E. faecium collagen adherence by affinity-purified anti-Acm antibodies from E. faecium endocarditis patient sera, suggesting that Acm may be a potential immunotarget for strategies to control this emerging pathogen.


Adhesins, Bacterial, Animals, Antibodies, Bacterial, Bacterial Adhesion, Collagen, Endocarditis, Bacterial, Enterococcus faecium, Gene Deletion, Gene Expression Profiling, Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections, Humans, Mice, Mutagenesis, Insertional, Survival Analysis, Virulence Factors