Magnetosome formation in marine vibrio MV-1
Marine vibrio MV-1 is a magnetotactic bacterium capable of aligning its cell in response to the Earth’s magnetic field. This ability is due to the presence of chainlike structures comprising magnetosomes, magnetite particles enclosed in a lipid membrane with associated proteins. Strain MV-1 differs from other, bettercharacterized strains of magnetotactic bacteria as the cells produce higher amounts of biomagnetite per litre of culture and its magnetosomes are unique in shape. This study investigates the presence and organisation of a gene cluster termed a “magnetosome island” within the genome of MV-1. In other magnetotactic bacteria this genomic region has been shown to contain many of the genes associated with magnetosome formation but has not been previously investigated for MV-1. One of the conserved fragments of this region was amplified using degenerate primers followed by extension of the known sequence using inverse PCR based technique and constructing plasmid libraries. Sequencing of the genome of strain MV-1 was accomplished as a part of this study. Significant work was done on comparison of the sequence quality obtained from SOLEXA, 454 and Sanger sequencing technologies. A number of obtained contigs were joined manually and the resulting sequence was automatically annotated using RAST. The obtained genome sequence of 3.6 Mb with a G+C content of 54.3 % was preliminarily analysed and used to search for magnetosome related genes. This study also analysed proteins associated with the magnetosomes of strain MV-1 using MALDI-TOF, LC-MS and Orbitrap mass spectrometry. These approaches allowed the identification of a number of proteins in the isolated magnetosome membrane fraction. Some of these proteins have very low similarity with other characterized proteins (either in magnetotactic bacteria or in other organisms). Another significant point is that genes that code for proteins such as MamR, MamK and MmsF were found to be present in several homologous copies within the “magnetosome island” of MV-1. Interestingly, this study shows that all homologous copies of these proteins were identified in the magnetosome membrane fraction. Generation of knock-out mutants of several specific genes from the “magnetosome island” of strain MV-1 was attempted; constructs were made based on suicide plasmids carrying the cre-lox or I-SceI systems. Despite altering numerous experimental conditions it was not possible to obtain conclusive evidence of the isolation of MV-1 transconjugants containing the integrated constructs. In order to investigate the cell localization of the magnetosome associated protein CAV30779.1, an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fusion based construct was generated and transferred into MV-1 cells. The EGFP fluorescent protein fusions within the cells were detected by microscopy. This study reveals novel information about magnetosome formation in marine vibrio MV-1. The obtained results provide an important foundation for further investigation of this organism and contribute towards broadening the knowledge of the complex process of magnetosome formation in bacteria.