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J Struct Biol. 2008 Mar;161(3):401-10. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Combined structural and chemical analysis of the anammoxosome: a membrane-bounded intracytoplasmic compartment in anammox bacteria.

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


Anammox bacteria have unique intracellular membranes that divide their cytoplasm into three separate compartments. The largest and innermost cytoplasmic compartment, the anammoxosome, is hypothesized to be the locus of all catabolic reactions in the anammox metabolism. Electron tomography showed that the anammoxosome and its membrane were highly folded. This finding was confirmed by a transmission electron microscopy study using different sample preparation methods. Further, in this study electron-dense particles were observed and electron tomography showed that they were confined to the anammoxosome compartment. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis revealed that these particles contained iron. The functional significance of a highly folded anammoxosome membrane and intracellular iron storage particles are discussed in relation to their possible function in energy generation.

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