Genetics and cell biology of magnetosome formation in magnetotactic bacteria.
ABSTRACT The ability of magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) to orient in magnetic fields is based on the synthesis of magnetosomes, which are unique prokaryotic organelles comprising membrane-enveloped, nano-sized crystals of a magnetic iron mineral that are aligned in well-ordered intracellular chains. Magnetosome crystals have species-specific morphologies, sizes, and arrangements. The magnetosome membrane, which originates from the cytoplasmic membrane by invagination, represents a distinct subcellular compartment and has a unique biochemical composition. The roughly 20 magnetosome-specific proteins have functions in vesicle formation, magnetosomal iron transport, and the control of crystallization and intracellular arrangement of magnetite particles. The assembly of magnetosome chains is under genetic control and involves the action of an acidic protein that links magnetosomes to a novel cytoskeletal structure, presumably formed by a specific actin-like protein. A total of 28 conserved genes present in various magnetic bacteria were identified to be specifically associated with the magnetotactic phenotype, most of which are located in the genomic magnetosome island. The unique properties of magnetosomes attracted broad interdisciplinary interest, and MTB have recently emerged as a model to study prokaryotic organelle formation and evolution.
Article: Enhanced Glutathione Content Allows the In Vivo Synthesis of Fluorescent CdTe Nanoparticles by Escherichia coli[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The vast application of fluorescent semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs) or quantum dots (QDs) has prompted the development of new, cheap and safer methods that allow generating QDs with improved biocompatibility. In this context, green or biological QDs production represents a still unexplored area. This work reports the intracellular CdTe QDs biosynthesis in bacteria. Escherichia coli overexpressing the gshA gene, involved in glutathione (GSH) biosynthesis, was used to produce CdTe QDs. Cells exhibited higher reduced thiols, GSH and Cd/Te contents that allow generating fluorescent intracellular NP-like structures when exposed to CdCl 2 and K 2 TeO 3 . Fluorescence microscopy revealed that QDs-producing cells accumulate defined structures of various colors, suggesting the production of differently-sized NPs. Purified fluorescent NPs exhibited structural and spectroscopic properties characteristic of CdTe QDs, as size and absorption/emission spectra. Elemental analysis confirmed that biosynthesized QDs were formed by Cd and Te with Cd/Te ratios expected for CdTe QDs. Finally, fluorescent properties of QDs-producing cells, such as color and intensity, were improved by temperature control and the use of reducing buffers. Copyright: ß 2012 Monrás et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e48657. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Biomimetic, mild chemical synthesis of CdTe-GSH quantum dots with improved biocompatibility.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Multiple applications of nanotechnology, especially those involving highly fluorescent nanoparticles (NPs) or quantum dots (QDs) have stimulated the research to develop simple, rapid and environmentally friendly protocols for synthesizing NPs exhibiting novel properties and increased biocompatibility. In this study, a simple protocol for the chemical synthesis of glutathione (GSH)-capped CdTe QDs (CdTe-GSH) resembling conditions found in biological systems is described. Using only CdCl(2), K(2)TeO(3) and GSH, highly fluorescent QDs were obtained under pH, temperature, buffer and oxygen conditions that allow microorganisms growth. These CdTe-GSH NPs displayed similar size, chemical composition, absorbance and fluorescence spectra and quantum yields as QDs synthesized using more complicated and expensive methods.CdTe QDs were not freely incorporated into eukaryotic cells thus favoring their biocompatibility and potential applications in biomedicine. In addition, NPs entry was facilitated by lipofectamine, resulting in intracellular fluorescence and a slight increase in cell death by necrosis. Toxicity of the as prepared CdTe QDs was lower than that observed with QDs produced by other chemical methods, probably as consequence of decreased levels of Cd(+2) and higher amounts of GSH. We present here the simplest, fast and economical method for CdTe QDs synthesis described to date. Also, this biomimetic protocol favors NPs biocompatibility and helps to establish the basis for the development of new, "greener" methods to synthesize cadmium-containing QDs.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e30741. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Self-recognition mechanism of MamA, a magnetosome-associated TPR-containing protein, promotes complex assembly.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The magnetosome, a biomineralizing organelle within magnetotactic bacteria, allows their navigation along geomagnetic fields. Magnetosomes are membrane-bound compartments containing magnetic nanoparticles and organized into a chain within the cell, the assembly and biomineralization of magnetosomes are controlled by magnetosome-associated proteins. Here, we describe the crystal structures of the magnetosome-associated protein, MamA, from Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1 and Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense MSR-1. MamA folds as a sequential tetra-trico-peptide repeat (TPR) protein with a unique hook-like shape. Analysis of the MamA structures indicates two distinct domains that can undergo conformational changes. Furthermore, structural analysis of seven crystal forms verified that the core of MamA is not affected by crystallization conditions and identified three protein-protein interaction sites, namely a concave site, a convex site, and a putative TPR repeat. Additionally, relying on transmission electron microscopy and size exclusion chromatography, we show that highly stable complexes form upon MamA homooligomerization. Disruption of the MamA putative TPR motif or N-terminal domain led to protein mislocalization in vivo and prevented MamA oligomerization in vitro. We, therefore, propose that MamA self-assembles through its putative TPR motif and its concave site to create a large homooligomeric scaffold which can interact with other magnetosome-associated proteins via the MamA convex site. We discuss the structural basis for TPR homooligomerization that allows the proper function of a prokaryotic organelle.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2011; 108(33):E480-7. · 9.68 Impact Factor