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Electron Spectroscopic Imaging of Magnetotactic Bacteria: Magnetosome Morphology and Diversity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 August 2002

Ulysses Lins
Affiliation:
, Setor de Microscopia Eletrônica e Departamento de Microbiologia Geral, Instituto de Microbiologia Professor Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
Flávia Freitas
Affiliation:
, Setor de Microscopia Eletrônica e Departamento de Microbiologia Geral, Instituto de Microbiologia Professor Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
Carolina N. Keim
Affiliation:
, Laboratório de Biomineralização, Departamento de Anatomia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bl. F, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
Marcos Farina*
Affiliation:
, Laboratório de Biomineralização, Departamento de Anatomia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, Bl. F, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
*
* Corresponding author

Abstract

Magnetotactic bacteria from aquatic environments were analyzed with the electron spectroscopic imaging technique. Rod-shaped bacteria and cocci were present in most of the samples observed. Magnetotactic multicellular aggregates were also observed at some of the sampling sites. The use of electron spectroscopic imaging allowed the observation of magnetosomes inside magnetotactic microorganisms with exceptional clarity. The number, size, and morphology of magnetosomes, as well as their ultrastructural spatial disposition inside the bacterial cell, could be directly observed and associated with the disposition of flagella of the respective cells.This allowed us to examine the structural relationships between magnetosomes and flagella, which are important components in the mechanisms of magnetotaxis. In disrupted magnetotactic multicellular aggregates, connections between cells were also visualized. We believe this technique will be useful in studying not only magnetotactic bacteria but also other uncultured microorganisms from natural environments.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Microscopy Society of America 2000

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