Visualization of the MamK protein in magnetotactic bacteria using Deconvolution Microscopy. UC Berkeley 2009.

The MamK protein has been associated with Magnetosome formation and localization. A Magnetosome is a bacterial organelle that contains magnetite crystals that act like the needle of a compass to orient the bacteria in geomagnetic fields. A GFP-MamK fusion protein was created to visualize the localization within the cell (green florescence). To add contrast and a better sense of where MamK was localized, the cell membrane was stained with FM4-64 which causes it to fluoresce red.

To construct the three-dimensional images, bacteria are viewed under a standard florescence microscope and a Z-series of images are taken (or a series of images with the same X and Y coordinates but varying up and down the vertical focus (or Z) axis). After image acquisition, the Z-series of images are then assembled in a software-based process that essentially "re-focuses" an out of focus image. Algorithms are used to extract information out of blurred regions of an image to clean up these regions leaving a clean three-dimensional image with no blurry regions.

The video displays the difference images before and after deconvolution.

To learn more about Magnetotactic Bacteria visit the following link and view recent publications:

To learn more about Deconvolution Microscopy visit:


Samples were graciously provided by the Komeili Lab of the Plant and Microbial Biology Department at UC Berkeley

Imaging Equipment and Software provided by the CNR Biological Imaging Facility

Special thanks to Professor Arash Komeili, Dr. Steven Ruzin and Dr. Denise Schichnes.

Official Selection, Imagine Science Film Festival, 2012

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