Team:UNIK Copenhagen/Project/Applications



Which are the most interesting and exciting applications according to the Team Magneto?

Magneto Pharma

Most of the cancer drugs have cytotoxicity effects and cause damages to the whole organism when administrated, because of the lack of specificity. We have thought out a new strategy to increase target specificity and reduce side effects of cancer drugs. Magnetosomes would act as cargos for anticancer drugs that can be dragged to the tumor site applying an external magnetic field. It would be possible to refine this specificity of target cells by taking advantages of the variety of receptors expressed on the surface of cancer cells. The magnetosome membrane can display specific antibodies that bind to a specific receptor, allowing to lead the drug to the destined cells. This approach doesn’t require the design and development of new high specific drug and it could reduce the amount of drug administrated to the patient.

Magneto Paint

Our everyday life is surrounded by invisible forces. We often forget that this forces exist and play a fundamental role for life on Earth. One example is the Earth's magnetic field, which, by extending into the space, constitutes the magnetosphere. Magnetosphere is Earth’s “shield” against elementary particles emitted by the Sun and this interaction originates the wonderful phenomenon of the polar aurora.
We think that it would be very exciting to exploit the magnetic field for an application as wonderful as polar aurora. An innovative painting containing magnetosomes tagged with colorful dyes would make visible the lines of magnetic field on posters, tables or even in our houses!

Magneto Power

ATP synthase has a fundamental role for cell life. Indeed, this enzyme synthesizes ATP, the molecule responsible for chemical energy transfer necessary for cellular processes and thereby sustaining life. Beside its function, ATP synthase has another important peculiarity regarding its structure that strongly resembles a nano machinery. The magnetic field exerted by magnetosomes could be exploit to test if ATP synthase can act as a biological micro dynamo. This goal can be achieved by using a magnetosome that carries a protein which binds to the rotating c subunit of the ATP synthase in order to create a variable magnetic field that could move the metallic ions in a conductor placed nearby.


What is the advantages of working with magnetosomes?
Why is the magnetosome preferable to common magnets?

  • The size

    Each magnetosome is made of a double layer lipid membrane surrounding an extremely small crystal of magnetite (15 – 20 to 120 nm). The size and the shape of the crystal is determined by the proteins responsible for the biomineralization of the magnetite. Therefore, the characteristics can be changed with genetic manipulation. These changes modify the magnetic properties of the magnetite crystals. For instance, extremely small magnetos (up to 20 nm) are characterized by a property called superparamagnetism. Such characteristic consists in the lost of the magnetism by the nanoparticles whenever the magnetic field surrounding them is taken away or switched off, resulting in a reversible system.

  • The membrane

    The membrane surrounding the magnetite crystal comes from an invagination of the bacterial cell membrane. The lipid membrane allows the use of magnetosomes in biological systems. In addition, the small size reduces the magnetic forces, resulting in a biocompatible tools. With our project we want to prove that the magnetosome membrane can carry a specific protein linked to a magnetosome protein (MamC) or even a dye or a drug can also be carried.

  • Availability

    Magnetotactic bacteria can be found in aquatic sediments. Since they so abundant in the environment, they can be easily collected or ordered. Once isolated and grown in the lab, they produce a large amount of magnetosome. See here how we obtained our own strain!

In conclusion, the properties and features of magnetosomes are very versatile and can be adapted for many different aims.