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Trends Microbiol. 2005 Aug;13(8):350-4.

Gas vesicles in actinomycetes: old buoys in novel habitats?

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK. Geertje.van-Keulen@bbsrc.ac.uk


Gas vesicles are gas-filled prokaryotic organelles that function as flotation devices. This enables planktonic cyanobacteria and halophilic archaea to position themselves within the water column to make optimal use of light and nutrients. Few terrestrial microbes are known to contain gas vesicles. Genome sequences that have become available recently for many bacteria from non-planktonic habitats reveal gas vesicle gene clusters in members of the actinomycete genera Streptomyces, Frankia and Rhodococcus, which typically live in soils and sediments. Remarkably, there is an additional level of complexity in cluster number and gene content. Here, we discuss whether putative gas vesicle proteins in these actinomycetes might actually be involved in flotation or whether they might fulfil other cellular functions.

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  • Gas vesicles in actinomycetes? [Trends Microbiol. 2006]
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