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A synthetic biology approach for magnetization of foreign organisms by genetic engineering and transplantation of bacterial magnetosome biosynthesis

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 SYNTOMAGX project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the SYNTOMAGX project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "SYNTOMAGX" about.

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Project "SYNTOMAGX" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 95447

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙291˙875 €
 EC max contribution 2˙291˙875 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-09-01   to  2021-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITAT BAYREUTH DE (BAYREUTH) coordinator 2˙291˙875.00


 Project objective

An immensely valuable asset to the field of synthetic biology would be a means to genetically endow magnetism to living organisms, which is still an unsolved challenge due to the lack of appropriate tools. In contrast, biomagnetism is innate to magnetotactic bacteria, mud-dwelling microbes which as geomagnetic sensors biomineralize iron nanocrystals with exceptional properties, the magnetosomes. However, transplantation of magnetosome biosynthesis has remained unachieved for many years, owing to its complexity and lack of knowledge of genetic determinants. Recently, my lab discovered relevant biosynthetic gene clusters and for the first time succeeded in expressing them in a foreign bacterium. Inspired by this major breakthrough, I now propose a step change approach for endogenous magnetization of diverse organisms based on bacterial magnetosome biosynthesis. By combining systematic genetic reduction with bottom-up redesign we will first minimize the pathway to make it universally portable. We will then reprogram E. coli into a chassis for plug-in expression of diverse magnetosome gene sets. By harnessing determinants of structurally diverse magnetosomes from various bacteria, we will reconfigure the pathway for mix-and-match generation of designer nanoparticles with tuned magnetic properties. Finally, we will attempt to reconstitute key parts of magnetosome formation in eukaryotic hosts by using yeast mitochondria as a universal model. The overall aim is to generate a versatile synthetic toolkit for genetic magnetization of different organisms. This would represent a quantum leap with tremendous impact on various fields of biomedical research and biotechnology. It might be exploited for bioproduction of tailored magnetic nanomaterials with novel and tunable properties. It could be further utilized to generate intracellular labels, tracers and actuators for magnetic manipulation and analysis of cells and organisms in the emerging field of magnetogenetics.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Frank Mickoleit, Dirk Schüler
Generation of nanomagnetic biocomposites by genetic engineering of bacterial magnetosomes
published pages: 86-98, ISSN: 2045-9858, DOI: 10.1680/jbibn.18.00005
Bioinspired, Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials 8/1 2020-02-27
2018 Frank Mickoleit, Dirk Schüler
Generation of Multifunctional Magnetic Nanoparticles with Amplified Catalytic Activities by Genetic Expression of Enzyme Arrays on Bacterial Magnetosomes
published pages: 1700109, ISSN: 2366-7478, DOI: 10.1002/adbi.201700109
Advanced Biosystems 2/1 2020-02-27
2018 Frank Mickoleit, Christian B. Borkner, Mauricio Toro-Nahuelpan, Heike M. Herold, Denis S. Maier, Jürgen M. Plitzko, Thomas Scheibel, Dirk Schüler
In Vivo Coating of Bacterial Magnetic Nanoparticles by Magnetosome Expression of Spider Silk-Inspired Peptides
published pages: 962-972, ISSN: 1525-7797, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01749
Biomacromolecules 19/3 2020-02-27
2018 René Uebe, Noa Keren-Khadmy, Natalie Zeytuni, Emanuel Katzmann, Yotam Navon, Geula Davidov, Ronit Bitton, Jürgen M. Plitzko, Dirk Schüler, Raz Zarivach
The dual role of MamB in magnetosome membrane assembly and magnetite biomineralization
published pages: 542-557, ISSN: 0950-382X, DOI: 10.1111/mmi.13899
Molecular Microbiology 107/4 2020-02-27
2018 Oliver Raschdorf, Florian Bonn, Natalie Zeytuni, Raz Zarivach, Dörte Becher, Dirk Schüler
A quantitative assessment of the membrane-integral sub-proteome of a bacterial magnetic organelle
published pages: 89-99, ISSN: 1874-3919, DOI: 10.1016/j.jprot.2017.10.007
Journal of Proteomics 172 2020-02-27
2019 Daniel Pfeiffer, Mauricio Toro-Nahuelpan, Marc Bramkamp, Jürgen M. Plitzko, Dirk Schüler
The Polar Organizing Protein PopZ Is Fundamental for Proper Cell Division and Segregation of Cellular Content in Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense
published pages: , ISSN: 2150-7511, DOI: 10.1128/mbio.02716-18
mBio 10/2 2020-02-27

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