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Origin of microbial biomineralization and magnetotaxis during the Archean

Lin, Wei and Paterson, Greig A. and Zhu, Qiyun and Wang, Yinzhao and Kopylova, Evguenia and Li, Ying and Knight, Rob and Bazylinski, Dennis A. and Zhu, Rixiang and Kirschvink, Joseph L. and Pan, Yongxin (2017) Origin of microbial biomineralization and magnetotaxis during the Archean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114 (9). pp. 2171-2176. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC5338559.

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Microbes that synthesize minerals, a process known as microbial biomineralization, contributed substantially to the evolution of current planetary environments through numerous important geochemical processes. Despite its geological significance, the origin and evolution of microbial biomineralization remain poorly understood. Through combined metagenomic and phylogenetic analyses of deep-branching magnetotactic bacteria from the Nitrospirae phylum, and using a Bayesian molecular clock-dating method, we show here that the gene cluster responsible for biomineralization of magnetosomes, and the arrangement of magnetosome chain(s) within cells, both originated before or near the Archean divergence between the Nitrospirae and Proteobacteria. This phylogenetic divergence occurred well before the Great Oxygenation Event. Magnetotaxis likely evolved due to environmental pressures conferring an evolutionary advantage to navigation via the geomagnetic field. Earth’s dynamo must therefore have been sufficiently strong to sustain microbial magnetotaxis in the Archean, suggesting that magnetotaxis coevolved with the geodynamo over geological time.

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Additional Information:© 2017 National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option. Edited by Donald E. Canfield, Institute of Biology and Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, University of Southern Denmark, Odense M, Denmark, and approved January 10, 2017 (received for review September 3, 2016). Published ahead of print February 13, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1614654114. We thank Longfei Wu for valuable comments and suggestions. W.L. and Y.P. acknowledge financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Grants 41330104, 41621004, and 41374074. W.L. acknowledges support from the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. G.A.P. acknowledges funding from NSFC Grants 41374072 and 41574063. D.A.B. is supported by US National Science Foundation Grant EAR-1423939. J.L.K. is supported by US National Aeronautics and Space Administration Exobiology Grant EXO14_2-0176. Author contributions: W.L., J.L.K., and Y.P. designed research; W.L. and Y.W. performed research; Q.Z. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; W.L. and Y.W. collected samples; W.L., G.A.P., and Q.Z. analyzed data; and W.L., G.A.P., Q.Z., E.K., Y.L., R.K., D.A.B., R.Z., J.L.K., and Y.P. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. Data deposition: The draft genome of Candidatus Magnetominusculus xianensis strain HCH-1 reported in this paper has been deposited in the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ)/European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)/GenBank database (accession no. LNQR00000000; the version described in this paper is LNQR01000000). The magnetosome gene cluster-containing contigs reported in this paper have been deposited in the DDBJ/EMBL/GenBank database (accession nos. KU221504–KU221507). This article contains supporting information online at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China41330104
National Natural Science Foundation of China41621004
National Natural Science Foundation of China41374074
Chinese Academy of SciencesUNSPECIFIED
National Natural Science Foundation of China41374072
National Natural Science Foundation of China41574063
Subject Keywords:Archean; microbial biomineralization; magnetotaxis; magnetotactic bacteria; geodynamo
Issue or Number:9
PubMed Central ID:PMC5338559
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170213-155402286
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Wei Lin, Greig A. Paterson, Qiyun Zhu, Yinzhao Wang, Evguenia Kopylova, Ying Li, Rob Knight, Dennis A. Bazylinski, Rixiang Zhu, Joseph L. Kirschvink, and Yongxin Pan Origin of microbial biomineralization and magnetotaxis during the Archean PNAS 2017 114 (9) 2171-2176; published ahead of print February 13, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1614654114
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:74273
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Feb 2017 00:13
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:36

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