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Science. 2006 Jan 13;311(5758):242-5. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Magnetosomes are cell membrane invaginations organized by the actin-like protein MamK.

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  • 1Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


Magnetosomes are membranous bacterial organelles sharing many features of eukaryotic organelles. Using electron cryotomography, we found that magnetosomes are invaginations of the cell membrane flanked by a network of cytoskeletal filaments. The filaments appeared to be composed of MamK, a homolog of the bacterial actin-like protein MreB, which formed filaments in vivo. In a mamK deletion strain, the magnetosome-associated cytoskeleton was absent and individual magnetosomes were no longer organized into chains. Thus, it seems that prokaryotes can use cytoskeletal filaments to position organelles within the cell.

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