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Eukaryotic cells are characterized by a considerable increase in subcellular compartmentalization when compared to prokaryotes. Most evidence suggests that the earliest eukaryotes consisted of mitochondria derived from a bacterial ancestor enclosed within an archaeal host. However, what benefits the archaeal host and the proto-mitochondrial endosymbiont might have obtained from one another at the inauguration of this endosymbiotic relationship remains unclear. Ancestral archaea were hyperthermophiles, and I argue that heat generated by internalized proto-mitochondria initially permitted an archaeon living at high temperatures to sample cooler environments. Furthermore, endosymbiont heat generation would have provided phenotypic flexibility not available through piecemeal acquisition of alleles selected for fitness at specific temperatures. A role for heat production by the proto-mitochondrion bridges a conceptual gap between initial endosymbiont entry to the archaeal host and a later role for mitochondrial ATP production within the eukaryotic cell.
5 syyskuuta 2019
14th International Colloquium on Endocytobiology and Symbiosis