SUMMARY: The influence of NaCl on the susceptibility of Enterococcus faecalis to cefotaxime was tested with JH2-2, a laboratory strain, and 20 clinical strains grown on tryptic soy agar supplemented with 5% horse blood. Growth with 3% NaCl in the medium resulted in an increase in cefotaxime resistance and the appearance of a heterogeneous resistance phenotype: for the majority of the strains, the MlCs of cefotaxime increased from 4 to 512 pg m1-Y By a competition assay using cefotaxime and [3H]benzylpenicillin, it was shown for strain JH2-2 that at the MIC penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 2 and PBP3 were the apparent essential PBPs in medium without NaCI, whilst the low-affinity PBPs 4 and 1 were the apparent essential PBPs for cell growth in medium containing 3% NaCl. Analysis of JH2-2 peptidoglycan by HPLC and MS after growth in the presence of 3% NaCl showed a relative increase in unsubstituted monomers and a relative decrease in alanine- and dialanine-substituted monomers. It is therefore hypothesized that modification of the number of alanine-substituted precursors in the presence of NaCl could interfere with the functions of the different PBPs and thus play a role in cefotaxime resistance in E. faecalis.


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