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We recently identified a novel vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) clone ST736 with reduced daptomycin susceptibility. The objectives of this study were to assess the population dynamics of local VREfm strains and genetic alterations predisposing to daptomycin resistance in VREfm ST736 strains. Multilocus sequence typing and single nucleotide variant data were derived from whole-genome sequencing of 250 E. faecium isolates from 1994-1995 (n = 43), 2009-2012 (n = 115) and 2013 (n = 92). A remarkable change was noticed in the clonality and antimicrobial resistance profiles of E. faecium strains between 1994-1995 and 2013. VREfm sequence type 17 (ST17), the prototype strain of clade A1, was the dominant clone (76.7%) recognized in 1994-1995. By contrast, clone ST736 accounted for 46.7% of VREfm isolates, followed by ST18 (26.1%) and ST412 (20.7%) in 2013. Bayesian evolutionary analysis suggested that clone ST736 emerged between 1996 and 2009. Co-mutations (liaR.W73C and liaS.T120A) of the liaFSR system were identified in all ST736 isolates (n = 111, 100%) examined. Thirty-eight (34.2%) ST736 isolates exhibited daptomycin-resistant phenotype, of which 13 isolates had mutations in both the liaFSR and cardiolipin synthase (cls) genes and showed high level of resistance with a daptomycin MIC50 of 32 mug/mL. The emergence of ST736 strains with mutations predisposing to daptomycin resistance and subsequent clonal spread among inpatients contributed to the observed high occurrence of daptomycin resistance in VREfm at our institution. The expanding geographic distribution of ST736 strains in other states and countries raises concerns about its global dissemination.


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Originally published in PLoS ONE, 13(12) [Article e0209785]. The original material can be found here.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.