Comparative analysis of virulence determinants and mass spectral profiles of Finnish and Lithuanian endodontic Enterococcus faecalis isolates

A. Reynaud Af Geijersstam*, R. Culak, L. Molenaar, Marie Anne Chattaway, E. Røslie, V. Peciuliene, M. Haapasalo, H. N. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Putative virulence factors of Enterococcus faecalis have been proposed by several workers and, by analogy, these have been linked to strains of endodontic origin. However, their distribution within the cell population is unknown. In the present study, isolates were taken from the dental root canals of two defined human populations, Lithuanian and Finnish, and examined for a range of virulence properties. In addition, surface-associated molecules and intracellular proteins were compared using matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization/mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) and ProteinChip™ capture/MS (SELDI-TOF-MS), respectively. Methods: Twenty-three Lithuanian and 35 Finnish dental root canal isolates were included. The esp, gelE, ace and efaA genes were detected by polymerase chain reaction, and cytolysin and gelatinase phenotypes were determined by hydrolysis of horse blood agar and gelatine agar, respectively. Protein extracts and surface-associated molecules of whole cells were analysed by SELDI-TOF-MS and MALDI-TOF-MS, respectively. Results: Presence of esp (n = 15), cytolysin (n = 9), ace (n = 55) and efaA (n = 58) was not statistically different in the two samples, whereas gelE and gelatinase production was detected more frequently in the Finnish material (chi-squared, P < 0.01). Analysis of protein profiles by SELDI-TOF-MS showed clustering of cytolysin-producing strains, whereas MALDI-TOF-MS generated profiles that clustered according to the samples' origin and, furthermore, to atypical quinupristin-dalfopristin susceptibility. Conclusion: A high prevalence of virulence factors was demonstrated in both population types. SELDI-TOF-MS and MALDI-TOF-MS proved useful in distinguishing between different E. faecalis phenotypes and they may be useful technologies for elucidating the eco-distribution of E. faecalis in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalOral Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Endodontic infections
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Virulence determinants


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