Appl Environ Microbiol 75(14) , 4835-52 (Jul 2009)
The marine bacterium strain MC-1 is a member of the alpha subgroup of the proteobacteria that contains the magnetotactic cocci and was the first member of this group to be cultured axenically. The magnetotactic cocci are not closely related to any other known alphaproteobacteria and are only distantly related to other magnetotactic bacteria. The genome of MC-1 contains an extensive (102 kb) magnetosome island that includes numerous genes that are conserved among all known magnetotactic bacteria, as well as some genes that are unique. Interestingly, certain genes that encode proteins considered to be important in magnetosome assembly (mamJ and mamW) are absent from the genome of MC-1. Magnetotactic cocci exhibit polar magneto-aerotaxis, and the MC-1 genome contains a relatively large number of identified chemotaxis genes. Although MC-1 is capable of both autotrophic and heterotrophic growth, it does not appear to be metabolically versatile, with heterotrophic growth confined to the utilization of acetate. Central carbon metabolism is encoded by genes for the citric acid cycle (oxidative and reductive), glycolysis, and gluconeogenesis. The genome also reveals the presence or absence of specific genes involved in the nitrogen, sulfur, iron, and phosphate metabolism of MC-1, allowing us to infer the presence or absence of specific biochemical pathways in strain MC-1. The pathways inferred from the MC-1 genome provide important information regarding central metabolism in this strain that could provide insights useful for the isolation and cultivation of new magnetotactic bacterial strains, in particular strains of other magnetotactic cocci.