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Annu Rev Biochem. 2007;76:351-66.

Molecular mechanisms of magnetosome formation.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Magnetotactic bacteria are a diverse group of microorganisms with the ability to use geomagnetic fields for direction sensing. This unique feat is accomplished with the help of magnetosomes, nanometer-sized magnetic crystals surrounded by a lipid bilayer membrane and organized into chains via a dedicated cytoskeleton within the cell. Because of the special properties of these magnetic crystals, magnetotactic bacteria have been exploited for a variety of applications in diverse disciplines from geobiology to biotechnology. In addition, magnetosomes have served as a powerful model system for the study of biomineralization and cell biology in bacteria. This review focuses on recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms of magnetosome formation and magnetite biomineralization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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