Introduction

In the last two decades, enterococci have emerged as an important cause of nosocomial infection, and with the appearance of vancomycin resistance, some strains are often resistant to most currently approved antimicrobial agents. The robust nature of this bacterium coupled with the rapid spread of antimicrobial resistance in this organism has led to increased interest in the pathogenesis of enterococcal infection. In this chapter we review how the genome of E.faecalis relates to the pathogenesis of enterococcal infection. We discuss the role of mobile DNA in the evolution and acquisition of virulence traits, and investigate the genetic properties of E.faecalis that contribute to its ability to adapt and survive in different environments. Finally we look at genes that could contribute to virulence in this organism and the role of the E.faecalis pathogenicity island in the bacteria/host relationship.

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