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Chapter 3 : Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans

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Abstract:

Three molecular analytical approaches based on small ribosomal subunit RNA (16S rRNA) sequences have proven to be able to provide reliable knowledge about the richness (diversity of species) and evenness (population sizes) of the fecal microflora of humans. These approaches are phylogenetic analysis by PCR, cloning, sequencing; total fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis using oligonucleotide probes that target specific 16S rRNA sequences; and oligonucleotide/total bacterial RNA hybridizations on membranes. Relatively well-described examples of the biological succession that occurs in the infant gut are provided by investigations of the acquisition of the intestinal microflora by mice and humans. Enterococci are inherently more resistant to antimicrobial drugs than other clinically important gram-positive bacteria, but the reason for this is not clear. Enterococci inhabit the gastrointestinal tract or environments contaminated by human waste and as such may be exposed to antibiotics that pass through the gastrointestinal tract. It is unlikely that enterococcal species experience selection with respect to antibacterial drugs during human infections. On the basis of these observations, it can be assumed that the intrinsic resistance of enterococci to many antimicrobials might have resulted from their need to survive and persist in highly competitive, and potentially detrimental, ecosystems such as the intestinal tract. The impact of imipenem on the composition of the intestinal microflora is, however, worthy of attention because enterococci have been isolated more frequently from pediatric cases of septicemia after the introduction of antibacterial drug.

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3

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Figure 1

(A) The enterobacterial population in fecal samples collected from a child between birth and two years of age was quantified by culture of dilutions of fecal homogenate on MacConkey agar. Note the fluctuating levels of these bacteria, which, nevertheless, gradually decline in numbers with age. (B) The enterococcal population in fecal samples collected from a child between birth and 2 years of age was quantified by culture of dilutions of fecal homogenate on bile-aesculin agar. Note the fluctuating levels of these bacteria, which, nevertheless, gradually decline in numbers with age.

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
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Tables

Generic image for table
Table 1

Molecular methods for analysis of the composition of bacterial communities

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 2

Cultivated bacterial species within the group

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 3

Cultivated bacterial species within the group

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 4

Cultivated bacterial species within the group

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 5

Populations of enterococcal species in human feces

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 6

The fecal microflora of infants of different ages consuming human milk or formula feed

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 7

Enterococcal populations in the feces of 10 adult humans

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 8

Number of cells cultured from the spleen of conventional mice 5 days after intravenous challenge

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 9

Number of gnotobiotic mice with cells in the spleen 3 days after intravenous challenge

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 10

Intrinsic antibacterial drug resistance in enterococci

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 11

Examples of the influence of antibacterial drugs on the composition of the fecal microflora

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 12

Members of the normal microflora in which has been detected

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 13

In vitro host range of plasmid pAM l

Citation: Tannock G, Cook G. 2002. Enterococci as Members of the Intestinal Microflora of Humans, p 101-132. In Gilmore M, Clewell D, Courvalin P, Dunny G, Murray B, Rice L (ed), The Enterococci. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817923.ch3

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