Asgard archaea illuminate the origin of eukaryotic cellular complexity
2017 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 541, no 7637, 353-+ p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The origin and cellular complexity of eukaryotes represent a major enigma in biology. Current data support scenarios in which an archaeal host cell and an alphaproteobacterial (mitochondrial) endosymbiont merged together, resulting in the first eukaryotic cell. The host cell is related to Lokiarchaeota, an archaeal phylum with many eukaryotic features. The emergence of the structural complexity that characterizes eukaryotic cells remains unclear. Here we describe the 'Asgard' superphylum, a group of uncultivated archaea that, as well as Lokiarchaeota, includes Thor-, Odin- and Heimdallarchaeota. Asgard archaea affiliate with eukaryotes in phylogenomic analyses, and their genomes are enriched for proteins formerly considered specific to eukaryotes. Notably, thorarchaeal genomes encode several homologues of eukaryotic membrane-trafficking machinery components, including Sec23/24 and TRAPP domains. Furthermore, we identify thorarchaeal proteins with similar features to eukaryotic coat proteins involved in vesicle biogenesis. Our results expand the known repertoire of 'eukaryote-specific' proteins in Archaea, indicating that the archaeal host cell already contained many key components that govern eukaryotic cellular complexity.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2017. Vol. 541, no 7637, 353-+ p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-319133DOI: 10.1038/nature21031ISI: 000396128800034PubMedID: 28077874OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-319133DiVA: diva2:1086520
FunderSwedish Research Council, 2015-04959Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationEU, European Research Council, 310039-PUZZLE_CELL 294200-MICROENERGY 331291Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , SSF-FFL5