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Curr Biol. 2016 May 23;26(10):1274-84. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.053. Epub 2016 May 12.

A Eukaryote without a Mitochondrial Organelle.

Author information

1
Department of Parasitology, Charles University in Prague, Prague 12843, Czech Republic; Department of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, University of Warsaw, Warsaw 00478, Poland. Electronic address: ankarn@biol.uw.edu.pl.
2
Department of Parasitology, Charles University in Prague, Prague 12843, Czech Republic.
3
Department of Biology and Ecology, University of Ostrava, Ostrava 710 00, Czech Republic.
4
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada.
5
Department of Cell Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H7, Canada.
6
Institute of Molecular Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague 14220, Czech Republic.
7
Department of Parasitology, Charles University in Prague, Prague 12843, Czech Republic. Electronic address: vlada@natur.cuni.cz.

Abstract

The presence of mitochondria and related organelles in every studied eukaryote supports the view that mitochondria are essential cellular components. Here, we report the genome sequence of a microbial eukaryote, the oxymonad Monocercomonoides sp., which revealed that this organism lacks all hallmark mitochondrial proteins. Crucially, the mitochondrial iron-sulfur cluster assembly pathway, thought to be conserved in virtually all eukaryotic cells, has been replaced by a cytosolic sulfur mobilization system (SUF) acquired by lateral gene transfer from bacteria. In the context of eukaryotic phylogeny, our data suggest that Monocercomonoides is not primitively amitochondrial but has lost the mitochondrion secondarily. This is the first example of a eukaryote lacking any form of a mitochondrion, demonstrating that this organelle is not absolutely essential for the viability of a eukaryotic cell.

PMID:
27185558
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.053
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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