Unraveling the mechanism by which a protein promotes the growth of nano-magnetic single crystals

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Date/Time:Monday, 11 Jan 2010 from 4:10 pm to 5:10 pm
Location:Physics, room 5
Phone:515-294-9901
Channel:Colloquium
Categories:Lectures
Actions:Download iCal/vCal | Email Reminder
David Vaknin (Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University)

I will present new results on a protein (Mms6) that has been implicated in promoting the nucleation and growth of magnetite (Fe3O4) single crystals in magneto-tactic bacteria. It turns out that this highly surface-active protein can form stable films at buffer/vapor interfaces and thus has become a good candidate for investigations by surface-sensitive X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy techniques that we have developed in the past few years for simpler model systems. I will demonstrate how these techniques work on model systems and present some of our recent findings on the protein that show its uniqueness in strongly and specifically binding Fe3+ ions as opposed to other trivalent ions carrying a similar charge or divalent ions such as La3+ or Fe2+, respectively.