Atomic Force Microscopy of Bdellovibrio Predation of Magnetotactic Prey

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Interactions between predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J, a Gram-negative bacterium, and prey Magnetotacticum magnetospirillum MS-1 , also a Gram-negative bacterium, were imaged with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The M. magnetospirillum contains several membrane-bound iron oxide nanoparticles termed magnetosomes. The fate of these biogenic nanoparticles when the prey bacterium is under attack by B. bacteriovorus is the prime focus of this research.That is, it is wondered ifthe B. bacteriovorus has the potential to be a living cargo carrier.It is known that B. bacteriovorus attacksother Gram-negative bacteria, and the 109J strain in particular has been found to prey on a wide range of these bacteria, such as Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Chromatium, and Spirillum .Because both bacteria demand dramatically different nutrients to grow well in laboratory liquid cultures,a majorchallenge within this research is to determine the environment in whichboth predator B. bacteriovorus and its prey can thrive so that interactions can be measured with AFM. This issue is being addressed by the method we developed to prepare the bacteria for imaging by using micro-pore filters to support the two species at a hydrated air-solid interface. The transportation of magnetosomes has not been confirmed yet. However, if the transport of the nanoparticles is confirmed, it will provide further information on the nature of bacterial predation at interfaces. It will also provide a new way to isolate and move biogenic materials.


Eileen Spain




National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Undergraduates Grant

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