Biological & Soft Matter Seminar: Swimming with magnets: motility of magnetotactic bacteria
Prof. Stefan Klumpp - Goettingen University
Magnetotatic bacteria align along magnetic field lines with the help of a linear chain of magnetic organelles called magnetosomes. Magnetosomes contain magnetic nanoparticles and are aligned along a cytoskeletal filament, forming a cellular compass needle. Thus, when these bacteria swim by rotating their flagella, they follow the magnetic field, a behavior known as magnetotaxis. These bacteria provide a nice model system to study the interplay of generic physical interactions with specific biological functionality. In the talk, I will discuss structural aspects of the magnetosome chain, specifically its stability and self-assembly, as well as the patterns of magnetotactic motion, which arise from the coupling between magnetotaxis and aerotaxis, based on our combined theoretical and experimental investigations.