Brenda Robledo1, Xiaoyong Zhang1, Steve Harris1, Xiaoping Hu1
1Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States
The gene mms6, originally identified in magnetotactic bacteria, expresses a protein thought to initiate magnetite crystal formation inside specialized organelles. Genetic loss-of-function studies suggest the protein also regulates the size of the iron-oxide crystals. We hypothesized that cells transfected with mms6 would store increased levels of iron and thereby produce MR contrast. In Vitro, we found that mms6 positive glioma cells stored 2.8 times more iron than control cells and also showed a 90.6% increase in transverse relaxivity at 9.4 Tesla compared to control cells. Our results suggest that mms6 may function as an MR reporter gene in cancer studies.