The cell wall architecture of Enterococcus faecium: from resistance to pathogenesis

Antoni P A Hendrickx, Willem van Schaik, Rob J L Willems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria functions as a surface organelle that continuously interacts with its environment through a plethora of cell wall-associated molecules. Enterococcus faecium is a normal inhabitant of the GI tract of mammals, but has recently become an important etiological agent of hospital-acquired infections in debilitated patients. Insights into the assembly and function of enterococcal cell wall components and their interactions with the host during colonization and infection are essential to explain the worldwide emergence of E. faecium as an important multiantibiotic-resistant nosocomial pathogen. Understanding the biochemistry of cell wall biogenesis and principles of antibiotic resistance at the molecular level may open up new frontiers in research on enterococci, particularly for the development of novel antimicrobial strategies. In this article, we outline the current knowledge on the most important antimicrobial resistance mechanisms that involve peptidoglycan synthesis and the role of cell wall constituents, including lipoteichoic acid, wall teichoic acid, capsular polysaccharides, LPxTG cell wall-anchored surface proteins, WxL-type surface proteins and pili, in the pathogenesis of E. faecium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1010
Number of pages18
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cell Wall
  • Cross Infection
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Mammals
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Teichoic Acids
  • Virulence Factors
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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