Novel species and expanded distribution of ellipsoidal multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2016 Apr;8(2):218-26. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12371. Epub 2016 Jan 26.


Multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes (MMPs) are a peculiar group of magnetotactic bacteria, each comprising approximately 10-100 cells of the same phylotype. Two morphotypes of MMP have been identified, including several species of globally distributed spherical mulberry-like MMPs (s-MMPs), and two species of ellipsoidal pineapple-like MMPs (e-MMPs) from China (Qingdao and Rongcheng cities). We recently collected e-MMPs from Mediterranean Sea sediments (Six-Fours-les-Plages) and Drummond Island, in the South China Sea. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the MMPs from Six-Fours-les-Plages and the previously reported e-MMP Candidatus Magnetananas rongchenensis have 98.5% sequence identity and are the same species, while the MMPs from Drummond Island appear to be a novel species, having > 7.1% sequence divergence from the most closely related e-MMP, Candidatus Magnetananas tsingtaoensis. Identification of the novel species expands the distribution of e-MMPs to Tropical Zone. Comparison of nine physical and chemical parameters revealed that sand grain size and the content of inorganic nitrogen (nitrate, ammonium and nitrite) in the sediments from Rongcheng City and Six-Fours-les-Plages were similar, and lower than found for sediments from the other two sampling sites. The results of the study reveal broad diversity and wide distribution of e-MMPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Deltaproteobacteria / classification
  • Deltaproteobacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Deltaproteobacteria / physiology*
  • Deltaproteobacteria / radiation effects
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Locomotion*
  • Magnetics*
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Phylogeography