FEMS microbiology letters

A magnetosome-associated cytochrome MamP is critical for magnetite crystal growth during the exponential growth phase.

PMID 25048532


Magnetotactic bacteria use a specific set of conserved proteins to biomineralize crystals of magnetite or greigite within their cells in organelles called magnetosomes. Using Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1, we examined one of the magnetotactic bacteria-specific conserved proteins named MamP that was recently reported as a new type of cytochrome c that has iron oxidase activity. We found that MamP is a membrane-bound cytochrome, and the MamP content increases during the exponential growth phase compared to two other magnetosome-associated proteins on the same operon, MamA and MamK. To assess the function of MamP, we overproduced MamP from plasmids in wild-type (WT) AMB-1 and found that during the exponential phase of growth, these cells contained more magnetite crystals that were the same size as crystals in WT cells. Conversely, when the heme c-binding motifs within the mamP on the plasmid was mutated, the cells produced the same number of crystals, but smaller crystals than in WT cells during exponential growth. These results strongly suggest that during the exponential phase of growth, MamP is crucial to the normal growth of magnetite crystals during biomineralization.