Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Tansy Chen L&S Biological Sciences

Identifying Novel Functions of Magnetosomes in M. magneticum AMB-1

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are aquatic bacteria capable of creating a unique intracellular organelle, the magnetosome, that is the location of magnetic crystal biomineralization. They are important models for the molecular study of compartmentalization and biomineralization as well as possible vehicles for biomedical applications. In the model organism Magnetospirillum magneticum strain AMB-1, the magnetosome island (MAI) encodes genes responsible for the creation, alignment, and maturation of a linear magnetosome chain, which ultimately allows the cell to orient and travel along Earth’s magnetic field lines in order to simplify their search for low oxygen environments (magnetotaxis). However, the existence of MTB species with non-linear magnetosome chains suggests they may serve functions beyond magnetotaxis. Alternative hypotheses for the function of magnetosomes have been proposed, yet not all have been thoroughly tested nor characterized. By using a physiological approach to study magnetosomes and MAI, this research project aims to explore magnetosomes’ purpose beyond magnetotaxis and identify genes in the island that impact AMB-1’s growth and biomineralization.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you very much for sponsoring my project! I look forward to conducting research in a field I am passionate about and hopefully improve my skills as a scientist this summer. Your generosity and support are greatly appreciated!
Profile image of Tansy Chen
Major: Microbial Biology, Music
Mentor: Arash Komeili
Sponsor: Pergo
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