Living organisms can produce inorganic materials with unique structure and properties. The biomineralization process is of great interest as it forms a source of inspiration for the development of methods for production of diverse inorganic materials under mild conditions. Nonetheless, regulation of biomineralization is still a challenging task. Magnetotactic bacteria produce chains of a prokaryotic organelle comprising a membrane-enveloped single-crystal magnetite with species-specific morphology. Here, we describe regulation of magnetite biomineralization through controlled expression of the mms7 gene, which plays key roles in the control of crystal growth and morphology of magnetite crystals in magnetotactic bacteria. Regulation of the expression level of Mms7 in bacterial cells enables switching of the crystal shape from dumbbell-like to spherical. The successful regulation of magnetite biomineralization opens the door to production of magnetite nanocrystals of desired size and morphology.
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