A look into the biochemistry of Magnetosome biosynthesis in magnetotactic bacteria

Shiran Barber-Zucker, Raz Zarivach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Magnetosomes are protein-rich membrane organelles that encapsulate magnetite or greigite and whose chain alignment enables magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) to sense the geomagnetic field. As these bacteria synthesize uniform magnetic particles, their biomineralization mechanism is of great interest among researchers from different fields, from material engineering to medicine. Both magnetosome formation and magnetic particle synthesis are highly controlled processes that can be divided into several crucial steps: membrane invagination from the inner-cell membrane, protein sorting, the magnetosomes' arrangement into chains, iron transport, chemical environment regulation of the magnetosome lumen, magnetic particle nucleation, and finally crystal growth, size, and morphology control. This complex system involves an ensemble of unique proteins that participate in different stages during magnetosome formation, some of which were extensively studied in recent years. Here, we present the current knowledge on magnetosome biosynthesis with a focus on the different proteins and the main biochemical pathways along this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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