Phylogenetic significance of composition and crystal morphology of magnetosome minerals

Mihály Pósfai, Christopher T. Lefèvre, Denis Trubitsyn, Dennis A. Bazylinski, Richard B. Frankel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

45 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) biomineralize magnetosomes, nano-scale crystals of magnetite or greigite in membrane enclosures that comprise a permanent magnetic dipole in each cell. MTB control the mineral composition, habit, size, and crystallographic orientation of the magnetosomes, as well as their arrangement within the cell. Studies involving magnetosomes that contain mineral and biological phases require multidisciplinary efforts. Here we use crystallographic, genomic and phylogenetic perspectives to review the correlations between magnetosome mineral habits and the phylogenetic affiliations of MTB, and show that these correlations have important implications for the evolution of magnetosome synthesis, and thus magnetotaxis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 344
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberNOV
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Biomineralization
  • Evolution
  • Greigite
  • Magnetite
  • Magnetosomes
  • Magnetotactic bacteria
  • Morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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