Characterization of Enterococcus faecalis isolates by Chicken Embryo Lethality Assay and ERIC-PCR.

Research paper by Ana E AE Blanco, Martin M Barz, David D Cavero, Wiebke W Icken, A Reza AR Sharifi, Matthias M Voss, Carlos C Buxadé, Rudolf R Preisinger

Indexed on: 25 Jul '17Published on: 25 Jul '17Published in: Avian pathology : journal of the W.V.P.A


Enterococcus faecalis is the major causative agent of amyloid arthropathy in chickens. Given the difficulty of estimating the risk from field strains, the Embryo Lethality Assay (ELA) is proposed in this study as model to predict the virulence of 68 avian E. faecalis strains. Additionally, Enterobacterial Repetitive Intergenic Consensus Polymerase Chain Reaction (ERIC-PCR) was used to characterize the genetic diversity of the E. faecalis strains. The ELA was performed ten times with subsets of seven-eight E. faecalis strains each on a sample of 9987 eggs including control groups. Three to 24 colony-forming units were inoculated into the allantoic cavity of 10-day-old embryos. The embryonic mortality rate (EMR) was determined by means of candling the eggs over a period of seven days. The ELA was able to distinguish the virulence of the E. faecalis strains. 26 strains were considered as avirulent strains with an EMR of below 40%. Five strains were highly virulent with an EMR above 80%. The remaining 37 strains were classified as strains of moderate virulence causing an EMR between 40 and 80%. The highest EMR occurred three and four days post inoculation (p.i.). From the 4(th) day p.i. almost no embryonic mortality was observed. Therefore, the ELA could be optimized by reducing experiment duration to four days p.i.. ERIC-PCR did not cluster the strains according to its virulence, although ERIC banding patterns revealed a considerable genetic diversity.In conclusion, the ELA can be considered a reliable and useful tool to predict the virulence of avian E. faecalis strains.