Microbiology 3302 Lecture

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    Kelly Smith

    Hi, I’m Enterococcus Faecium. It’s for the best if you and I DON’T meet in the hospital. Me and the other enterococci in my family Enterococcaceae are the leading cause of nosocomial infections.
    I’m a part of the normal intestinal flora of humans and animals. I’m particularly well suited to the gastrointestinal track, vaginal tract, and oral cavity because I’m a facultative anaerobe—I gain energy through fermentation. Plus, those spots provide me with loads of nutrients. But I’m not exactly fastidious. My gram-positive cell wall has a thick layer of peptidogycan, as well as eichoic and lipoteichoic acids. I can grow in a wide range of temperatures—from 10-45 degrees Celsius. I can also tolerate basic and acidic environments as well as isotonic and hypertonic solutions. I can survive in soil, sewage, and hide out on a variety of hospital surfaces. I’m small (1-2 mm), spherical, and I prefer to hang out in pairs or chains. I’m not motile, but, believe me, I get around!
    When I turn pathogenic, you better WATCH OUT! They don’t call me a “super bug” for nothing. My main weapon, my virulence factor, is my ability to resist to loads of different types of antibiotics—vancomycin, penicillin, gentamicin, tetracycline, erythromycin and teicoplanin just to name a few. I’m well known for being resistant to vancomycin. Healthcare workers stay on high alert for VRE—vancomycin-resistant enterococci.
    I can easily share drug resistance with my own generation and with future generations via plasmids and conjugative transposons. I have a surface protein that allows me to form biofilms so it’s easy for me to coordinate with my fellow colony cells and make sure we’re all drug resistant. Forming biofilms helps me to colonize hospital tubing, which can lead to blood and urinary tract infections. I can also travel on hands and medical instruments to infect surgical wounds.
    However, I’m not all bad. I have a few helpful uses. I can make antibacterial peptides called bacteriocins. Plus I can ferment delicious cheese and vegetables.

    Here’s video all about me: http://mobile.ztopics.com/Enterococcus%20faecium/

    Here’s a flattering photo of me: http://www.bioquell.asia/interface/assets/images/content/Enterococcus_faecium_faecalis_41503729_1.jpg





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