Apr 11, 2020

Conditionally essential genes for survival during starvation in Enterococcus faecium E745

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
V. de MaatWillem van Schaik


The nosocomial pathogen Enterococcus faecium can survive for prolonged periods of time on surfaces in the absence of nutrients. This trait is thought to contribute to the ability of E. faecium to spread among patients in hospitals. Because there is currently a lack of data on the mechanisms that are responsible for the ability of E. faecium to survive in the absence of nutrients, we performed a high-throughput transposon mutant library screening (Tn-seq) to identify genes that have a role in long-term survival during incubation in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at 20 C. A total of 18 genes were identified by Tn-seq to contribute to survival in PBS, with functions associated with the general stress response, DNA repair, metabolism, and membrane homeostasis. The gene which was quantitatively most important for survival in PBS was usp (locus tag: EfmE745_02439), which is predicted to encode a 17.4 kDa universal stress protein. After generating a targeted deletion mutant in usp, we were able to confirm that usp significantly contributes to survival in PBS and this defect was restored by in trans complementation. As usp is present in 99% of 1644 E. faecium genomes that span the diversity of the species, we postulate that this gene ...Continue Reading

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