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J Bacteriol. 2008 Jan;190(2):708-17. Epub 2007 Nov 9.

Linking ultrastructure and function in four genera of anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria: cell plan, glycogen storage, and localization of cytochrome C proteins.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) is an ecologically and industrially important process and is performed by a clade of deeply branching Planctomycetes. Anammox bacteria possess an intracytoplasmic membrane-bounded organelle, the anammoxosome. In the present study, the ultrastructures of four different genera of anammox bacteria were compared with transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography. The four anammox genera shared a common cell plan and contained glycogen granules. Differences between the four genera included cell size (from 800 to 1,100 nm in diameter), presence or absence of cytoplasmic particles, and presence or absence of pilus-like appendages. Furthermore, cytochrome c proteins were detected exclusively inside the anammoxosome. This detection provides further support for the hypothesis that this organelle is the locus of anammox catabolism.

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