Transcriptomics Analysis Reveals Putative Genes Involved in Biofilm Formation and Biofilm-associated Drug Resistance ofEnterococcus faecalis

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IntroductionEnterococcus faecalis is a gram-positive bacterium associated with endodontic infections and is capable of forming biofilms that can confer drug resistance to the bacterium, resulting in treatment failure. Current knowledge on E. faecalis drug resistance is of a limited and conflicting nature. The present study examined the genetic basis of E. faecalis biofilm formation and drug resistance using a RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq)-based transcriptome approach.MethodsEighteen clinical isolates of E. faecalis were screened for their biofilm formation abilities using the crystal violet assay, colony counting, and confocal imaging. Selected isolates were then evaluated for antibiotic susceptibility in planktonic and biofilm growth modes followed by RNA-Seq analysis of E. faecalis planktonic, biofilm, and vancomycin-treated biofilm samples and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes mapping in order to identify genes associated with biofilm formation and drug resistance of E. faecalis.ResultsAll 18 clinical isolates retained biofilm formation ability and were classified as strong, weak, or laboratory American Type Culture Collection strainlike biofilm formers. Interestingly, both the strong and weak biofilm-forming isolates were uniformly resistant to ampicillin and vancomycin at the treated concentrations (256–4096 μg/mL). RNA-Seq analysis of these isolates identified a total of 163 and 101 differentially regulated genes in planktonic versus biofilm and vancomycin-treated biofilm versus biofilm comparisons, respectively, with significant differences in arsenic resistance operon genes arsR and arsD, sporulation regulatory gene paiA, ABC drug transporter classes, and penicillin-binding proteins.ConclusionsThe present transcriptomic study revealed putative genes associated with E. faecalis biofilm formation and drug resistance, which will provide a foundation for improved therapeutic strategies against E. faecalis infections in the future.HighlightsClinical isolates of Enterococcus faecalis have varied biofilm structures.The highly resistant persister population is unrelated to the biofilm structure.Genes arsR, arsD, and paiA are related to E. faecalis biofilm resistance.

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