An international consortium led by CEA researchers in collaboration with the CNRS, has succeeded in characterizing the structure and function of a protein involved in the production of magnetite nanomagnets in magnetotactic bacteria. This protein, MamP, is crucial to the metallurgical activity of the bacterium. It is this protein that gives the magnetite its magnetic properties. This work constitutes an important advance in the understanding of these bacteria and the magnetite biomineralization process. It is expected to result in the development of additional biotechnological applications for these nanomagnets, especially in the fields of medical imaging and the decontamination of water. These results were published on the Nature website on October 6, 2013.
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