Virulence properties of a peptide hemolysin produced by Enterococcus faecalis


The characterization and prevalence of virulence factors associated with enterococcal invasiveness and severity of disease are important areas to be investigated. Recently, we described the production of a heat-stable hemolysin by clinical isolates of Enterococcus faecalis cultived in BHI-GA (BHI with glucose and L-arginine). Now, we purified the hemolysin from the culture supernatant by ultra-filtration (PM-10 membrane) and ethanol extraction followed by chromatography in a mBondapak C18 and Superdex Peptide columns. The hemolytic activity was not affected by the proteolytic enzymes. Cholesterol, phospholipids, EDTA and also bivalent ions did not inhibit the hemolytic activity. Among the various carbohydrates, only dextran 4 protected the erythrocytes against lyse. Scanning electron microscopy showed that lyse of erythrocytes occured at once after the exposure to the hemolysin. The mito-chondrial activity and the cell membrane integrity were significantly affected by the hemolysis, within 20 min of exposure and caused apoptosis after 12 h incubation, 51.92% in HeLa and 68% in HEp-2 cells, analyzed by flow cytometry. These results suggest that the heat-stable pore forming hemolysin might be a putative virulence factor in enterococci infections.

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Furumura, M. , Figueirêdo, P. , Carbonell, G. , Darini, A. , Bomfim, M. , Turri, R. , Moraes, F. , Andrade, C. , Mendes, H. , Neto, V. and Yano, T. (2012) Virulence properties of a peptide hemolysin produced by Enterococcus faecalis. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 3, 909-917. doi: 10.4236/abb.2012.37112.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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