Int J Mol Sci, Apr 2021

Induction of Axonal Outgrowth in Mouse Hippocampal Neurons via Bacterial Magnetosomes

Sara De Vincentiis, Alessandro Falconieri, Frank Mickoleit, Valentina Cappello, Dirk Schüler, Vittoria Raffa


Magnetosomes are membrane-enclosed iron oxide crystals biosynthesized by magnetotactic bacteria. As the biomineralization of bacterial magnetosomes can be genetically controlled, they have become promising nanomaterials for bionanotechnological applications. In the present paper, we explore a novel application of magnetosomes as nanotool for manipulating axonal outgrowth via stretch-growth (SG). SG refers to the process of stimulation of axonal outgrowth through the application of mechanical forces. Thanks to their superior magnetic properties, magnetosomes have been used to magnetize mouse hippocampal neurons in order to stretch axons under the application of magnetic fields. We found that magnetosomes are avidly internalized by cells. They adhere to the cell membrane, are quickly internalized, and slowly degrade after a few days from the internalization process. Our data show that bacterial magnetosomes are more efficient than synthetic iron oxide nanoparticles in stimulating axonal outgrowth via SG.


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