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Res Microbiol. 2011 Jan;162(1):71-6. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Reconciling an archaeal origin of eukaryotes with engulfment: a biologically plausible update of the Eocyte hypothesis.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.


An archaeal origin of eukaryotes is often equated with the engulfment of the bacterial ancestor of mitochondria by an archaeon. Such an event is problematic in that it is not supported by archaeal cell biology. We show that placing phylogenetic results within a stem-and-crown framework eliminates such incompatibilities, and that an archaeal origin for eukaryotes (as suggested from recent phylogenies) can be uncontroversially reconciled with phagocytosis as the mechanism for engulfment of the mitochondrial ancestor. This is significant because it eliminates a perceived problem with eukaryote origins: that an archaeal origin of eukaryotes (as under the Eocyte hypothesis) cannot be reconciled with existing cell biological mechanisms through which bacteria may take up residence inside eukaryote cells.

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