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Identification Of Vat (E) In Enterococcus Faecalis Isolates From Retail Poultry And Its Transferability To Enterococcus Faecium

S. Simjee, D. G. White, D. D. Wagner, J. Meng, S. Qaiyumi, S. Zhao, P. F. McDermott

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ABSTRACT Sixteen isolates of Enterococcus faecalis were recovered from retail poultry samples (seven chickens and nine turkeys) purchased from grocery stores in the greater Washington, D.C., area. PCR for known streptogramin resistance genes identified vat (E) in five E. faecalis isolates (three isolates from chickens and two isolates from turkeys). The vat (E) gene was transmissible on a ca. 70-kb plasmid, along with resistance to erythromycin, tetracycline, and streptomycin, by conjugation to E. faecalis and Enterococcus faecium recipient strains. DNA sequencing showed little variation between E. faecalis vat (E) genes from the chicken samples; however, one E. faecalis vat (E) gene from a turkey sample possessed 5 nucleotide changes that resulted in four amino acid substitutions. None of these substitutions in the vat (E) allele have previously been described. This is the first report of vat (E) in E. faecalis and its transferability to E. faecium , which indicates that E. faecalis can act as a reservoir for the dissemination of vat (E)-mediated streptogramin resistance to E. faecium .