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Evidence for a Hydrogenosomal-Type Anaerobic ATP Generation Pathway in Acanthamoeba castellanii
Gawryluk, Ryan M. R.
Gray, Michael W.
Roger, Andrew J.
Diverse, distantly-related eukaryotic lineages have adapted to low-oxygen environments, and possess mitochondrion-related organelles that have lost the capacity to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through oxidative phosphorylation. A subset of these organelles, hydrogenosomes, has acquired a set of characteristic ATP generation enzymes commonly found in anaerobic bacteria. The recipient of these enzymes could not have survived prior to their acquisition had it not still possessed the electron transport chain present in the ancestral mitochondrion. In the divergence of modern hydrogenosomes from mitochondria, a transitional organelle must therefore have existed that possessed both an electron transport chain and an anaerobic ATP generation pathway. Here, we report a modern analog of this organelle in the habitually aerobic opportunistic pathogen, Acanthamoeba castellanii. This organism possesses a complete set of enzymes comprising a hydrogenosome-like ATP generation pathway, each of which is predicted to be targeted to mitochondria. We have experimentally confirmed the mitochondrial localizations of key components of this pathway using tandem mass spectrometry. This evidence is the first supported by localization and proteome data of a mitochondrion possessing both an electron transport chain and hydrogenosome-like energy metabolism enzymes. Our work provides insight into the first steps that might have occurred in the course of the emergence of modern hydrogenosomes.
Lateral transfer of tetrahymanol-synthesizing genes has allowed multiple diverse eukaryote lineages to independently adapt to environments without oxygen
Roger, Andrew J
Sterols are key components of eukaryotic cellular membranes that are synthesized by multi-enzyme pathways that require molecular oxygen. Because prokaryotes fundamentally lack sterols, it is unclear how the vast diversity of bacterivorous eukaryotes that inhabit hypoxic environments obtain, or synthesize, sterols. Here we show that tetrahymanol, a triterpenoid that does not require molecular oxygen for its biosynthesis, likely functions as a surrogate of sterol in eukaryotes inhabiting oxygen-poor environments. Genes encoding the tetrahymanol synthesizing enzyme squalene-tetrahymanol cyclase were found from several phylogenetically diverged eukaryotes that live in oxygen-poor environments and appear to have been laterally transferred among such eukaryotes.
This article was reviewed by Eric Bapteste and Eugene Koonin.
eukaryotes; lateral gene transfer; phagocytosis; sterols; tetrahymanol
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