Issue 16, 2018

Configuration of the magnetosome chain: a natural magnetic nanoarchitecture


Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense is a microorganism with the ability to biomineralize magnetite nanoparticles, called magnetosomes, and arrange them into a chain that behaves like a magnetic compass. Rather than straight lines, magnetosome chains are slightly bent, as evidenced by electron cryotomography. Our experimental and theoretical results suggest that due to the competition between the magnetocrystalline and shape anisotropies, the effective magnetic moment of individual magnetosomes is tilted out of the [111] crystallographic easy axis of magnetite. This tilt does not affect the direction of the chain net magnetic moment, which remains along the [111] axis, but explains the arrangement of magnetosomes in helical-like shaped chains. Indeed, we demonstrate that the chain shape can be reproduced by considering an interplay between the magnetic dipolar interactions between magnetosomes, ruled by the orientation of the magnetosome magnetic moment, and a lipid/protein-based mechanism, modeled as an elastic recovery force exerted on the magnetosomes.

Graphical abstract: Configuration of the magnetosome chain: a natural magnetic nanoarchitecture

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Article information

Article type
14 Nov 2017
25 Feb 2018
First published
26 Feb 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2018,10, 7407-7419

Configuration of the magnetosome chain: a natural magnetic nanoarchitecture

I. Orue, L. Marcano, P. Bender, A. García-Prieto, S. Valencia, M. A. Mawass, D. Gil-Cartón, D. Alba Venero, D. Honecker, A. García-Arribas, L. Fernández Barquín, A. Muela and M. L. Fdez-Gubieda, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 7407 DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08493E

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