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Gene. 1997 Nov 12;201(1-2):31-6.

Evidence for two types of subunits in the bacterioferritin of Magnetospirillum magnetotacticum.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125, USA.


In order to investigate the role of bacterioferritin (Bfr) in the biomineralization of magnetite by microorganisms, we have cloned and sequenced the bfr genes from M. magnetotacticum. The organism has two bfr genes that overlap by one nucleotide. Both encode putative protein products of 18 kDa, the expected size for Bfr subunits, and show a strong similarity to other Bfr subunit proteins. By scanning the DNA sequence databases, we found that a limited number of other organisms, including N. gonorrhea, P. aeruginosa, and Synechocystis PCC6803, also have two bfr genes. When the sequences of a number of microbial Bfrs are compared with each other, they fall into two distinct types with the organisms mentioned above having one of each type. Differences in heme- and metal-binding sites and ferroxidase activities of the two types of subunits are discussed.

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