A Large Gene Cluster Encoding Several Magnetosome Proteins Is Conserved in Different Species of Magnetotactic Bacteria

Karen Grünberg, Cathrin Wawer, Bradley M. Tebo, Dirk Schüler

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In magnetotactic bacteria, a number of specific proteins are associated with the magnetosome membrane (MM) and may have a crucial role in magnetite biomineralization. We have cloned and sequenced the genes of several of these polypeptides in the magnetotactic bacterium Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense that could be assigned to two different genomic regions. Except for mamA, none of these genes have been previously reported to be related to magnetosome formation. Homologous genes were found in the genome sequences of M. magnetotacticum and magnetic coccus strain MC-1. The MM proteins identified display homology to tetratricopeptide repeat proteins (MamA), cation diffusion facilitators (MamB), and HtrA-like serine proteases (MamE) or bear no similarity to known proteins (MamC and MamD). A major gene cluster containing several magnetosome genes (including mamA and mamB) was found to be conserved in all three of the strains investigated. The mamAB cluster also contains additional genes that have no known homologs in any nonmagnetic organism, suggesting a specific role in magnetosome formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4573-4582
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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