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A Novel Genus of Multicellular Magnetotactic Prokaryotes from the Yellow Sea
Update time: 2012-03-07
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Multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes (MMPs) are a group of magnetotactic microorganisms composed of 10-40 gram-negative cells. Currently, all the identified MMPs show a spherical morphology and synthesize mainly iron sulfide magnetosomes. Recently, scientists from Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and their cooperators have reported a novel genus of MMPs with peculiar ellipsoidal morphology and iron oxide magnetosomes in intertidal sediment of the Yellow Sea in China. These MMPs are composed of several interlaced circles of cells and synthesize bullet-shaped magnetosomes in chains approximately parallel to the long axis of the organism. Unlike the division along the short axis of spherical MMPs, ellipsoidal MMPs divide along the long axis. The well consistence of the architecture symmetry with the motility direction, direction of division suggests the more complexity of this kind of MMPs, which may be a good model to study the multicellularity of prokaryotes.

These results have been published in the recent issue of Environmental Microbiology (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02590.x/full).

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