A ferritin-like protein with antioxidant activity in Ureaplasma urealyticum
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Abstract Background Ureaplasma urealyticum is a major pathogen associated with many diseases. The ability of U. urealyticum to protect itself from oxidative stress is likely to be important for its pathogenesis and survival, but its oxidative stress tolerance mechanisms remain unclear. This study investigates the antioxidant activity of a ferritin-like protein from U. urealyticum. Results The uuferritin gene, which was up regulated when U. urealyticum was subjected to oxidative stress, was cloned from U. urealyticum and the corresponding recombinant protein uuferritin was purified. Uuferritin protein reduced the levels of hydroxyl radicals generated by the Fenton reaction as a consequence of its ferroxidase activity, and thus the protein protected DNA from oxidative damage. Furthermore, oxidation-sensitive Escherichia coli mutants transformed with pTrc99a-uuferritin showed significantly improved tolerance to oxidative stress compared to E. coli mutants transformed with an empty pTrc99a vector. Conclusions The present work shows that uuferritin protein confers resistance to oxidative stress in vitro and in E. coli. The protective role of uuferritin provides a foundation for understanding the mechanisms of oxidative stress tolerance in U. urealyticum.