Genes and proteins involved in bacterial magnetic particle formation

Tadashi Matsunaga*, Yoshiko Okamura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic bacteria synthesize intracellular magnetosomes that impart a cellular swimming behaviour referred to as magnetotaxis. The magnetic structures aligned in chains are postulated to function as biological compass needles allowing the bacterium to migrate along redox gradients through the Earth's geomagnetic field lines. Despite the discovery of this unique group of microorganisms 28 years ago, the mechanisms of magnetic crystal biomineralization have yet to be fully elucidated. This review describes the current knowledge of the genes and proteins involved in magnetite formation in magnetic bacteria and the biotechnological applications of biomagnetites in the interdisciplinary fields of nanobiotechnology, medicine and environmental management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-541
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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