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Open Access Research article

Genomic comparative analysis of the environmental Enterococcus mundtii against enterococcal representative species

Guillermo D Repizo1, Martín Espariz1, Víctor S Blancato1, Cristian A Suárez1, Luis Esteban2 and Christian Magni1*

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario (IBR-CONICET) and Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Suipacha 531, Rosario S2002LRK, Argentina

2 Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Santa Fe 3100, Rosario S2002LRK, Argentina

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:489  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-489

Published: 18 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Enterococcus mundtii is a yellow-pigmented microorganism rarely found in human infections. The draft genome sequence of E. mundtii was recently announced. Its genome encodes at least 2,589 genes and 57 RNAs, and 4 putative genomic islands have been detected. The objective of this study was to compare the genetic content of E. mundtii with respect to other enterococcal species and, more specifically, to identify genes coding for putative virulence traits present in enterococcal opportunistic pathogens.

Results

An in-depth mining of the annotated genome was performed in order to uncover the unique properties of this microorganism, which allowed us to detect a gene encoding the antimicrobial peptide mundticin among other relevant features. Moreover, in this study a comparative genomic analysis against commensal and pathogenic enterococcal species, for which genomic sequences have been released, was conducted for the first time. Furthermore, our study reveals significant similarities in gene content between this environmental isolate and the selected enterococci strains (sharing an “enterococcal gene core” of 805 CDS), which contributes to understand the persistence of this genus in different niches and also improves our knowledge about the genetics of this diverse group of microorganisms that includes environmental, commensal and opportunistic pathogens.

Conclusion

Although E. mundtii CRL1656 is phylogenetically closer to E. faecium, frequently responsible of nosocomial infections, this strain does not encode the most relevant relevant virulence factors found in the enterococcal clinical isolates and bioinformatic predictions indicate that it possesses the lowest number of putative pathogenic genes among the most representative enterococcal species. Accordingly, infection assays using the Galleria mellonella model confirmed its low virulence.

Keywords:
Enterococcus; Enterococcus mundtii; Genomic comparative analysis