3 years ago

Enterococcus faecalis responds to individual exogenous fatty acids independently of saturation or chain length.

Holly E Saito, John R Harp, Elizabeth M Fozo
Enterococcus faecalis is a commensal of the human gastrointestinal tract that can persist in the external environment and is a leading cause of hospital acquired infections. Given its diverse habitats, the organism has developed numerous strategies to survive a multitude of environmental conditions. Previous studies have demonstrated that E. faecalis will incorporate fatty acids from bile and serum into its membrane, resulting in an induced tolerance to membrane damaging agents. To discern whether all fatty acids induce membrane stress protection, we examined how E. faecalis responded to individually supplied fatty acids. E. faecalis readily incorporated fatty acids 14-18 carbons in length into its membrane, but poorly incorporated fatty acids shorter or longer than this length. Supplementation with saturated fatty acids tended to increase generation time and lead to altered cellular morphology in most cases. Further, exogenously supplied saturated fatty acids did not induce tolerance to the membrane damaging antibiotic daptomycin. Supplementation with unsaturated fatty acids produced variable growth effects, with some impacting generation time and morphology. Exogenously supplied unsaturated fatty acids that are normally produced by E. faecalis and those that are found in bile or serum, could restore growth in the presence of a fatty acid biosynthetic inhibitor. However, only the eukaryotic derived fatty acids, oleic acid and linoleic acid, provided protection from daptomycin. Thus, exogenous fatty acids do not lead to a common physiological effect on E. faecalis: the organism responds uniquely to each, and only host-derived fatty acids induce membrane protection.ImportanceEnterococcus faecalis is a commonly acquired hospital infectious agent with resistance to many antibiotics, including those that target its cellular membrane. We previously demonstrated that E. faecalis will incorporate fatty acids found in human fluids, like serum, into its cellular membrane, thereby altering its membrane composition. In turn, the organism is better able to survive membrane damaging agents, including the antibiotic daptomycin. We examined fatty acids commonly found in serum and those normally produced by E. faecalis to determine which fatty acids can induce protection from membrane damage. Supplementation with individual fatty acids produced a myriad of different effects on cellular growth, morphology, and stress response. However, only host-derived unsaturated fatty acids provided stress protection. Future studies are aimed to understand how these specific fatty acids induce protection from membrane damage.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01633-17

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01633-17

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