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Arch Microbiol. 1998 Feb;169(2):136-47.

Phylogenetic affiliation and ultrastructure of uncultured magnetic bacteria with unusually large magnetosomes.

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Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie, Technische Universität München, D-80290 München, Germany,


Natural enrichments of magnetic bacteria from the Itaipu lagoon near Rio de Janeiro were dominated by coccoid-to-ovoid morphotypes that produced unusually large magnetosomes. To determine the phylogenetic position of these unusual microorganisms, 16S rRNA genes were retrieved from bacteria magnetically separated from sediment of the Itaipu lagoon by in vitro amplification and cloning of PCR products into a plasmid vector. Partial sequencing of the obtained clones revealed two clusters of closely related sequences affiliated to a distinct lineage consisting exclusively of magnetic bacteria within the alpha-subclass of Proteobacteria. For a detailed phylogenetic analysis, several almost complete sequences of the 16S rRNA genes were determined. One representative clone of each cluster provided a PCR template for the in vitro transcription of group-specific polynucleotide probes complementary to a variable region of the 16S rRNA molecule. At least three different morphotypes of magnetic bacteria were reliably identified by post-embedding hybridization of ultra-thin sections. Electron microscopic analyses of hybridized cells enabled for the first time a detailed description of the morphological variety and ultrastructure of phylogenetically identified, uncultured magnetic bacteria. Two distinct coccoid bacteria were identified by the transcript probe complementary to the 16S rRNA sequence mabrj12, whereas the probe complementary to the sequence mabrj58 allowed the identification of an ovoid morphotype that displayed magnetosomes with the largest volumes observed to date.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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