Endosymbiosis before eukaryotes: mitochondrial establishment in protoeukaryotes

Zachar, I. & Boza, G. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6453-8254 (2020). Endosymbiosis before eukaryotes: mitochondrial establishment in protoeukaryotes. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 77 3503-3523. 10.1007/s00018-020-03462-6.

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Endosymbiosis and organellogenesis are virtually unknown among prokaryotes. The single presumed example is the endosymbiogenetic origin of mitochondria, which is hidden behind the event horizon of the last eukaryotic common ancestor. While eukaryotes are monophyletic, it is unlikely that during billions of years, there were no other prokaryote–prokaryote endosymbioses as symbiosis is extremely common among prokaryotes, e.g., in biofilms. Therefore, it is even more precarious to draw conclusions about potentially existing (or once existing) prokaryotic endosymbioses based on a single example. It is yet unknown if the bacterial endosymbiont was captured by a prokaryote or by a (proto-)eukaryote, and if the process of internalization was parasitic infection, slow engulfment, or phagocytosis. In this review, we accordingly explore multiple mechanisms and processes that could drive the evolution of unicellular microbial symbioses with a special attention to prokaryote–prokaryote interactions and to the mitochondrion, possibly the single prokaryotic endosymbiosis that turned out to be a major evolutionary transition. We investigate the ecology and evolutionary stability of inter-species microbial interactions based on dependence, physical proximity, cost–benefit budget, and the types of benefits, investments, and controls. We identify challenges that had to be conquered for the mitochondrial host to establish a stable eukaryotic lineage. Any assumption about the initial interaction of the mitochondrial ancestor and its contemporary host based solely on their modern relationship is rather perilous. As a result, we warn against assuming an initial mutually beneficial interaction based on modern mitochondria–host cooperation. This assumption is twice fallacious: (i) endosymbioses are known to evolve from exploitative interactions and (ii) cooperativity does not necessarily lead to stable mutualism. We point out that the lack of evidence so far on the evolution of endosymbiosis from mutual syntrophy supports the idea that mitochondria emerged from an exploitative (parasitic or phagotrophic) interaction rather than from syntrophy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mutualism; Endosymbiosis; Prokaryotes; Mitochondria; Eukaryogenesis
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2020 12:27
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:32
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/16288

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