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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Feb 28;114(9):2171-2176. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1614654114. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

Origin of microbial biomineralization and magnetotaxis during the Archean.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China; weilin0408@gmail.com kirschvink@caltech.edu yxpan@mail.iggcas.ac.cn.
2
France-China Bio-Mineralization and Nano-Structures Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China.
4
Genomic Medicine, J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037.
5
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037.
6
College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.
7
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037.
8
School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4004.
9
State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China.
10
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125; weilin0408@gmail.com kirschvink@caltech.edu yxpan@mail.iggcas.ac.cn.
11
Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro, Tokyo 152-8551, Japan.

Abstract

Microbes that synthesize minerals, a process known as microbial biomineralization, contributed substantially to the evolution of current planetary environments through numerous important geochemical processes. Despite its geological significance, the origin and evolution of microbial biomineralization remain poorly understood. Through combined metagenomic and phylogenetic analyses of deep-branching magnetotactic bacteria from the Nitrospirae phylum, and using a Bayesian molecular clock-dating method, we show here that the gene cluster responsible for biomineralization of magnetosomes, and the arrangement of magnetosome chain(s) within cells, both originated before or near the Archean divergence between the Nitrospirae and Proteobacteria This phylogenetic divergence occurred well before the Great Oxygenation Event. Magnetotaxis likely evolved due to environmental pressures conferring an evolutionary advantage to navigation via the geomagnetic field. Earth's dynamo must therefore have been sufficiently strong to sustain microbial magnetotaxis in the Archean, suggesting that magnetotaxis coevolved with the geodynamo over geological time.

KEYWORDS:

Archean; geodynamo; magnetotactic bacteria; magnetotaxis; microbial biomineralization

PMID:
28193877
PMCID:
PMC5338559
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1614654114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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