Skip to main content

Free Content The HtrA/DegP family protease MamE is a bifunctional protein with roles in magnetosome protein localization and magnetite biomineralization

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library


Magnetotactic bacteria contain nanometre-sized, membrane-bound organelles, called magnetosomes, which are tasked with the biomineralization of small crystals of the iron oxide magnetite allowing the organism to use geomagnetic field lines for navigation. A key player in this process is the HtrA/DegP family protease MamE. In its absence, Magnetospirillum magneticum str AMB-1 is able to form magnetosome membranes but not magnetite crystals, a defect previously linked to the mislocalization of magnetosome proteins. In this work we use a directed genetic approach to find that MamE, and another predicted magnetosome-associated protease, MamO, likely function as proteases in vivo. However, as opposed to the complete loss of mamE where no biomineralization is observed, the protease-deficient variant of this protein still supports the initiation and formation of small, 20 nm-sized crystals of magnetite, too small to hold a permanent magnetic dipole moment. This analysis also reveals that MamE is a bifunctional protein with a protease-independent role in magnetosome protein localization and a protease-dependent role in maturation of small magnetite crystals. Together, these results imply the existence of a previously unrecognized ‘checkpoint’ in biomineralization where MamE moderates the completion of magnetite formation and thus committal to magneto-aerotaxis as the organism's dominant mode of navigating the environment.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Molecular and Cell Biology 2: Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California Berkeley, 111 Koshland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA 3: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, 3640 University Street, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B2, Canada

Publication date: 01 May 2011

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more