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Trends Microbiol. 2006 Aug;14(8):329-31. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

How magnetotactic bacteria make magnetosomes queue up.

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  • 1Department of Physics, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA.


Magnetotactic bacteria contain chains of magnetosomes that comprise a permanent magnetic dipole in each cell. In two separate, recent papers, Scheffel et al. and Komeili et al. describe the roles of the proteins MamJ and MamK in magnetosome chain formation. Here, we describe the two studies and highlight questions that must be addressed in future investigations of how magnetotactic bacteria construct their magnetic compass needles.

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