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Front Microbiol. 2014 Jan 29;5:9. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00009. eCollection 2014.

Structure prediction of magnetosome-associated proteins.

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Department of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Beer Sheva, Israel ; National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Beer Sheva, Israel.


Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are Gram-negative bacteria that can navigate along geomagnetic fields. This ability is a result of a unique intracellular organelle, the magnetosome. These organelles are composed of membrane-enclosed magnetite (Fe3O4) or greigite (Fe3S4) crystals ordered into chains along the cell. Magnetosome formation, assembly, and magnetic nano-crystal biomineralization are controlled by magnetosome-associated proteins (MAPs). Most MAP-encoding genes are located in a conserved genomic region - the magnetosome island (MAI). The MAI appears to be conserved in all MTB that were analyzed so far, although the MAI size and organization differs between species. It was shown that MAI deletion leads to a non-magnetic phenotype, further highlighting its important role in magnetosome formation. Today, about 28 proteins are known to be involved in magnetosome formation, but the structures and functions of most MAPs are unknown. To reveal the structure-function relationship of MAPs we used bioinformatics tools in order to build homology models as a way to understand their possible role in magnetosome formation. Here we present a predicted 3D structural models' overview for all known Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense strain MSR-1 MAPs.


Protein structure–function; magnetosome; magnetotactic bacteria; membrane invagination; structure prediction

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