The entire structure of a 98 kb genomic region that abounds in genes related to magnetosome synthesis was first described in the Magnetospirillum sp. strain AMB-1. The deletion of this 98 kb genomic region and the circular form after excision from the chromosome was detected by PCR amplification. This strongly suggests that the region has undergone a lateral gene transfer. The region has the characteristics of a genomic island: low GC content, location between two repetitive sequences, and the presence of an integrase in the flanking region of the first repetitive sequence. This 98 kb genomic region has the potential for transfer by the integrase activity. Comparative genome analysis revealed other regions with a high concentration of orthologs in magnetic bacteria besides the 98 kb region, and magnetosome synthesis seemed to need not only the exogenous 98 kb region, but also other orthologs and individually originating genes.
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