Magnetotactic bacteria have intracellular chains of magnetic nanoparticles, conferring to their cellular body a magnetic moment that permits the alignment of their swimming trajectories to the geomagnetic field lines. That property is known as magnetotaxis and makes them suitable for the study of bacterial motion. The present paper studies the swimming trajectories of uncultured magnetotactic cocci and of the multicellular magnetotactic prokaryote ‘Candidatus Magnetoglobus multicellularis’ exposed to magnetic fields lower than 80 μT. It was assumed that the trajectories are cylindrical helixes and the axial velocity, the helix radius, the frequency and the orientation of the trajectories relative to the applied magnetic field were determined from the experimental trajectories. The results show the paramagnetic model applies well to magnetotactic cocci but not to ‘Ca. M. multicellularis’ in the low magnetic field regime analyzed. Magnetotactic cocci orient their trajectories as predicted by classical magnetotaxis but in general ‘Ca. M. multicellularis’ does not swim following the magnetic field direction, meaning that for it the inversion in the magnetic field direction represents a stimulus but the selection of the swimming direction depends on other cues or even on other mechanisms for magnetic field detection.
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The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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D. Acosta-Avalos acknowledges financial support from Fundação do Amparo à Pesquisa do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ). R. D. de Melo thanks Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico (CNPq) for PIBIC grant. F. Abreu acknowledges support from FAPERJ, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and thanks to the microscopy facilities CENABIO-UFRJ and UniMicro-UFRJ.
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Supplementary Video 1: Uncultured magnetotactic cocci are initially concentrated in the drop border and depart from it when the magnetic field is inverted. From this type of video the trajectory coordinates were obtained using the software ImageJ. Not all MTB can be followed in the video, but using several videos we were able to get from 40 to 48 trajectories. (AVI 187 kb)
Supplementary Video 2: Ca. ‘Magnetoglobus multicellularis’ are initially concentrated in the drop border and depart from it when the magnetic field is inverted. From this type of video the trajectory coordinates were obtained using the software ImageJ. Using several videos we were able to get from 37 to 41 trajectories. (AVI 218 kb)
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de Melo, R.D., Leão, P., Abreu, F. et al. The swimming orientation of multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes and uncultured magnetotactic cocci in magnetic fields similar to the geomagnetic field reveals differences in magnetotaxis between them. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 113, 197–209 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10482-019-01330-3
- Magnetotactic bacteria
- Taxis/tactic responses
- Bacterial swimming
- Cylindrical helix swimming trajectory