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Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 181, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Molecular analysis of a subcellular compartment: the magnetosome membrane in Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense

  • Dirk Schüler
Mini-Review

Abstract

The ability of magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) to orient and migrate along magnetic field lines is based on magnetosomes, which are membrane-enclosed intracellular crystals of a magnetic iron mineral. Magnetosome biomineralization is achieved by a process involving control over the accumulation of iron and deposition of the magnetic particle, which has a specific morphology, within a vesicle provided by the magnetosome membrane. In Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense, the magnetosome membrane has a distinct biochemical composition and comprises a complex and specific subset of magnetosome membrane proteins (MMPs). Classes of MMPs include those with presumed function in magnetosome-directed uptake and binding of iron, nucleation of crystal growth, and the assembly of magnetosome membrane multiprotein complexes. Other MMPs comprise protein families of so far unknown function, which apparently are conserved between all other MTB. The mam and mms genes encode most of the MMPs and are clustered within several operons, which are part of a large, unstable genomic region constituting a putative magnetosome island. Current research is directed towards the biochemical and genetic analysis of MMP functions in magnetite biomineralization as well as their expression and localization during growth.

Keywords

Magnetite biomineralization Magnetosome membrane Magnetotactic bacteria Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense” 

Abbreviations

MM

Magnetosome membrane

MMP

Magnetosome membrane protein

MTB

Magnetotactic bacteria

Notes

Acknowledgements

I wish to acknowledge the continued collaboration and invaluable discussions with many colleagues. I am especially grateful to my coworkers and students of the Magneto-Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. Research in the author’s lab is supported by the Max Planck Gesellschaft, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Biofuture program of the German BMBF.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute for Marine MicrobiologyBremenGermany

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