Monday, August 5, 2019

BacterioFiles 392 - Magnetic Microbes Maneuver Marine Manager

Calkinsia aureus
By djpmapleferryman
Uploaded by Shureg, CC BY 2.0
This episode: A marine protist can orient itself along magnetic fields thanks to bacterial symbionts on its surface that make magnetic nanoparticles!

Download Episode (7.2 MB, 7.9 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Chlorocebus pygerythrus polyomavirus 3

Takeaways
Various kinds of bacteria can orient their movement along a magnetic field. These are called magnetotactic, and they use this ability to swim toward or away from the surface of their aquatic habitat, to adjust their oxygen exposure according to their preference.

No eukaryotic microbes have yet been discovered that can sense and react to magnetic fields like these prokaryotes. In this study, however, a protist was discovered that can do it via its partnership with ectosymbionts, or bacteria attached to its surface, that sense magnetism and orient their host's movement. In return, factors of the host's metabolism may feed its symbionts.

Journal Paper:
Monteil CL, Vallenet D, Menguy N, Benzerara K, Barbe V, Fouteau S, Cruaud C, Floriani M, Viollier E, Adryanczyk G, Leonhardt N, Faivre D, Pignol D, López-García P, Weld RJ, Lefevre CT. 2019. Ectosymbiotic bacteria at the origin of magnetoreception in a marine protist. Nat Microbiol 4:1088–1095.

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