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Life 2013, 3(2), 295-307; doi:10.3390/life3020295
Review

Magnetotactic Bacteria from Extreme Environments

1,*  and 2
Received: 14 February 2013; in revised form: 13 March 2013 / Accepted: 13 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles and Extreme Environments)
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Abstract: Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) represent a diverse collection of motile prokaryotes that biomineralize intracellular, membrane-bounded, tens-of-nanometer-sized crystals of a magnetic mineral called magnetosomes. Magnetosome minerals consist of either magnetite (Fe3O4) or greigite (Fe3S4) and cause cells to align along the Earth’s geomagnetic field lines as they swim, a trait called magnetotaxis. MTB are known to mainly inhabit the oxic–anoxic interface (OAI) in water columns or sediments of aquatic habitats and it is currently thought that magnetosomes function as a means of making chemotaxis more efficient in locating and maintaining an optimal position for growth and survival at the OAI. Known cultured and uncultured MTB are phylogenetically associated with the Alpha-, Gamma- and Deltaproteobacteria classes of the phylum Proteobacteria, the Nitrospirae phylum and the candidate division OP3, part of the Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae (PVC) bacterial superphylum. MTB are generally thought to be ubiquitous in aquatic environments as they are cosmopolitan in distribution and have been found in every continent although for years MTB were thought to be restricted to habitats with pH values near neutral and at ambient temperature. Recently, however, moderate thermophilic and alkaliphilic MTB have been described including: an uncultured, moderately thermophilic magnetotactic bacterium present in hot springs in northern Nevada with a probable upper growth limit of about 63 °C; and several strains of obligately alkaliphilic MTB isolated in pure culture from different aquatic habitats in California, including the hypersaline, extremely alkaline Mono Lake, with an optimal growth pH of >9.0.
Keywords: magnetotactic bacteria; biomineralization; magnetite; greigite; biodiversity and ecology; extreme environments; extremophiles; astrobiology magnetotactic bacteria; biomineralization; magnetite; greigite; biodiversity and ecology; extreme environments; extremophiles; astrobiology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bazylinski, D.A.; Lefèvre, C.T. Magnetotactic Bacteria from Extreme Environments. Life 2013, 3, 295-307.

AMA Style

Bazylinski DA, Lefèvre CT. Magnetotactic Bacteria from Extreme Environments. Life. 2013; 3(2):295-307.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bazylinski, Dennis A.; Lefèvre, Christopher T. 2013. "Magnetotactic Bacteria from Extreme Environments." Life 3, no. 2: 295-307.

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