Dictionary > Magnetosome

Magnetosome

Definition
noun, plural: magnetosomes
A membranous cytoplasmic structure containing mineral crystals that enable certain prokaryotes to orient themselves towards magnetic field
Supplement
The magnetosomes are membranous cytoplasmic structures consisting of mineral crystals (about 15-20) that act together like a compass needle. They were found inside the cells of magnetic bacteria such as Magnetospirillum species. The magnetosomes within the cells of Magnetospirillum species orient them to geomagnetic fields. This response to geomagnetic field helps them to move towards their preferred microaerophilic environment. The mineral crystals within magnetosome may be crystals of magnetite (Fe3O4) or crystals of greigite (Fe3S4). The magnetosomes that contain magnetite crystals are referred to as iron oxide magnetosomes whereas those that contain greigite crystals are called iron sulfide magnetosomes. Apart from greigite crystals, though, iron sulfide magnetosomes were also found to contain other sulfide minerals such as mackinawite.
Apart from these prokaryotes, there are also certain eukaryotes that possess cytoplasmic magnetosomes, particularly the so-called magnetotactic algal species. Within their cells are magnetosomes containing thousands of magnetite crystals.
The presence of magnetosomes enables these organisms to orient themselves towards geomagnetic fields and move towards it. This response to geomagnetic field is termed magnetotaxis.
See also:

  • Magnetospirillum

Mentioned in:

  • magnetotaxis


    You will also like...

    Freshwater aquatic plankton
    Freshwater Communities & Plankton

    Planktons are microscopic organisms that live suspended in aquatic habitats. There are two groups: the phytoplanktons an..

    Angle Oak Tree
    Seed Plants

    Seed plants are vascular plants. They differ from the other vascular plants in producing seeds that germinate into a new..

    Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
    New Zealand’s Unique Geographical History

    Explore why New Zealand has such unique flora and fauna, and learn why long periods of geographical isolation. This less..

    genes controlling growth and development
    Control of Growth & Development

    Control of Growth & Development tutorials look at how the genetic makeup determines the biological processes on a da..

    Population Regulation in an Ecosystem
    Population Regulation in an Ecosystem

    With regard to the population size of a species and what factors may affect them, two factors have been defined. They ar..

    Wart-like leaf galls on grape leaves
    Plant Cell Defense

    Plants protect themselves by releasing hydrogen peroxide to fight against fungal invasion. Another way is by secreting c..