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Nat Mater. 2016 Feb;15(2):217-26. doi: 10.1038/nmat4484. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

A magnetic protein biocompass.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Membrane Biology, Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
2
Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Protein Science, Center for Structural Biology, Tsinghua-Peking Center for Life Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Protein &Peptide Pharmaceuticals, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
4
School of Life Sciences, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
5
Institute of Physics and Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.
6
Center for Experimental Animal Research, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.

Abstract

The notion that animals can detect the Earth's magnetic field was once ridiculed, but is now well established. Yet the biological nature of such magnetosensing phenomenon remains unknown. Here, we report a putative magnetic receptor (Drosophila CG8198, here named MagR) and a multimeric magnetosensing rod-like protein complex, identified by theoretical postulation and genome-wide screening, and validated with cellular, biochemical, structural and biophysical methods. The magnetosensing complex consists of the identified putative magnetoreceptor and known magnetoreception-related photoreceptor cryptochromes (Cry), has the attributes of both Cry- and iron-based systems, and exhibits spontaneous alignment in magnetic fields, including that of the Earth. Such a protein complex may form the basis of magnetoreception in animals, and may lead to applications across multiple fields.

PMID:
26569474
DOI:
10.1038/nmat4484
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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