Characterization of dominant giant rod-shaped magnetotactic bacteria from a low tide zone of the China Sea
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Magnetotactic bacteria are a group of Gram-negative bacteria that synthesize magnetic crystals, enabling them to navigate in relation to magnetic field lines. Morphologies of magnetotactic bacteria include spirillum, coccoid, rod, vibrio, and multicellular morphotypes. The coccid shape is generally the most abundant morphotype among magnetotactic bacteria. Here we describe a species of giant rod-shaped magnetotactic bacteria (designated QR-1) collected from sediment in the low tide zone of Huiquan Bay (Yellow Sea, China). This morphotype accounted for 90% of the magnetotactic bacteria collected, and the only taxonomic group which was detected in the sampling site. Microscopy analysis revealed that QR-1 cells averaged (6.71±1.03)×(1.54±0.20) μm in size, and contained in each cell 42–146 magnetosomes that are arranged in a bundle formed one to four chains along the long axis of the cell. The QR-1 cells displayed axial magnetotaxis with an average velocity of 70±28 μm/s. Transmission electron microscopy based analysis showed that QR-1 cells had two tufts of flagella at each end. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA genes revealed that QR-1 together with three other rod-shaped uncultivated magnetotactic bacteria are clustered into a deep branch of Alphaproteobacteria.
KeywordAlphaproteobacteria flagella motility rod-shaped magnetotactic bacteria
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We thank XU Jianhong for his assistance with biological sampling, JIANG Ming, LIU Jing, and MA Xicheng for their assistance with the TEM analysis, and LIU Wei for supporting our SEM observations.
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