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Complex archaea that bridge the gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes
Spang, A.; Saw, J.H.; Zaremba-Niedzwiedzka, K.; Martijn, J.; Lind, A.E.; van Eijk, R.; Schleper, C.; Guy, L.; Ettema, T.J.G. (2015). Complex archaea that bridge the gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Nature (Lond.) 521(7551): 173-179.
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Spang, A.
  • Saw, J.H.
  • Zaremba-Niedzwiedzka, K.
  • Martijn, J.
  • Lind, A.E.
  • van Eijk, R.
  • Schleper, C.
  • Guy, L.
  • Ettema, T.J.G.

    The origin of the eukaryotic cell remains one of the most contentious puzzles in modern biology. Recent studies have provided support for the emergence of the eukaryotic host cell from within the archaeal domain of life, but the identity and nature of the putative archaeal ancestor remain a subject of debate. Here we describe the discovery of ‘Lokiarchaeota’, a novel candidate archaeal phylum, which forms a monophyletic group with eukaryotes in phylogenomic analyses, and whose genomes encode an expanded repertoire of eukaryotic signature proteins that are suggestive of sophisticated membrane remodelling capabilities. Our results provide strong support for hypotheses in which the eukaryotic host evolved from a bona fide archaeon, and demonstrate that many components that underpin eukaryote-specific features were already present in that ancestor. This provided the host with a rich genomic ‘starter-kit’ to support the increase in the cellular and genomic complexity that is characteristic of eukaryotes.

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