Certain organisms can sense the geomagnetic field to geolocate themselves and navigate. A new study has now revealed a hitherto unseen strategy involved in the acquisition of this ability in anaerobic eukaryotes. These organisms can orient themselves in marine sediments thanks to a symbiosis they have established with ectosymbiotic Deltaproteobacteria biomineralizing ferrimagnetic nanoparticles. The discovery could open the way to understanding the mechanistic basis of cooperative sensing and its role in adaptation to anoxic environments, say Christopher Lefevre of the Biosciences and Biotechnologies Institute of Aix-Marseille and colleagues, reporting in Nature Microbiology.
Reference: Ectosymbiotic bacteria at the origin of magnetoreception in a marine protist, Monteil CL, Vallenet D, Menguy N, Benzerara K, Barbe V, Fouteau S, Cruaud C, Floriani M, Viollier E, Adryanczyk G, Leonhardt N, Faivre D, Pignol D, López-García P, Weld RJ, Lefèvre C.T Nat Microbiol.
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