Hemerythrin-like proteins are oxygen-carrying non-heme di-iron binding proteins and their functions have effect on oxidation-reduction regulation and antibiotic resistance. Recent studies using bioinformatic analyses suggest that multiple hemerythrin-like protein coding sequences might have been acquired by lateral gene transfer and the number of hemerythrin-like proteins varies amongst different species. Mycobacterium smegmatis contains three hemerythrin-like proteins, MSMEG-3312, MSMEG-2415 and MSMEG-6212. In this study, we have systematically analyzed all three hemerythrin-like proteins in M. smegmatis and our results identified and characterized two functional classes: MSMEG-2415 plays an important role in H2O2 susceptibility, and MSMEG-3312 and MSMEG-6212 are associated with erythromycin susceptibility. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these three proteins have different evolutionary origins, possibly explaining their different physiological functions. Here, combined with biological and phylogenetic analyses, our results provide new insights into the evolutionary divergence of the hemerythrin-like proteins in M. smegmatis.
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