2017 年 72 巻 2 号 p. 189-211
Enterococci belong to the group of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of a wide variety of animals from insects and to human, and the commensal organism in humans and animals. The commensal/probiotic role of enterococci has evolved through thousands of years in mutual coexistence. Enterococcus have many favorable traits that have been appreciated in food fermentation and preservation, and many serve as probiotics to promote health. While lactobacillus have been shown to confer numerous benefits on and often regarded as health bringing organisms, enterococci have become more recognized as emerging human pathogens in recent years. Mac Callum and Hastings characterized an organism, now known to be Enterococcal faecalis, which was isolated from a lethal case of endocarditis on 1899. The report was the first detailed description of its pathogenic capabilities. Over the past few decades, multi-drug resistance enterococci have become as important health-care associated pathogen, and leading causes of drug resistance infection. The modern life style including the broad use of antibiotics in medical practice and animal husbandry have selected for the convergence of potential virulence factors to the specific enterococcus species such as E. faecium and E. faecalis. The development of modern medical care of intensive and invasive medical therapies and treatments for human disease, and existence of severe compromised patients in hospitals has contributed to the increased prevalence of these opportunistic organisms. The virulence factors converged in E. faecalis and E. faecium which have been isolated in nosocomial infections, include antibiotic resistance, extracellular proteins (toxins), extrachromosome and mobile genetic elements, cell wall components, biofilm formation, adherence factors, and colonization factor such as bacteriocin, etc. In these potential virulence factors, I presented characteristics of enterococcal conjugative plasmid, cytolysin, collagen binding protein of adhesion, bacteriocins, and drug resistances. I made reference to our original reports, and review books for this review. The review books are “Enterococci: from Commensals to Leading Causes of Drug Resistant Infection, NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. Ed. by Michael S Gilmore, Don B Clewell, Yasuyoshi Ike, and Nathan Shankar”, and “The Enterococci: Pathogenesis, Molecular Biology, and Antibiotic Resistance, Gilmore M., Clewell D., Courvadin P., Dunny G., Murray B., Rice L., (ed) 2002. ASM Press”.