The origin of eukaryotes is tightly linked to a single endosymbiotic event between a prokaryotic host cell and an α-proteobacterium that subsequently was converted into a mitochondrion. At the heart of this organellogenesis lays the evolution of a protein import system.
Recent biochemical characterization of this import apparatus in the early-branching eukaryote Trypanosoma brucei and comparison with the functionally equivalent systems from yeast and plants help shed light on the deep branches of the eukaryotic tree of life.
This work was carried out in the group of Prof. André Schneider.
J. Mani, S. Desy, M. Niemann, A. Chanfon, S. Oeljeklaus, M. Pusnik, O. Schmidt, C. Gerbeth, C. Meisinger, B. Warscheid, A. Schneider;
"Mitochondrial protein import receptors in Kinetoplastids reveal convergent evolution over large phylogenetic distances"
Nat. Commun., 2015, 6, 6646/1-12;
J. Mani, C. Meisinger, A. Schneider;
"Peeping at TOMs - Diverse entry gates to mitochondria provide insights into the evolution of eukaryotes"
Mol. Biol. Evol., 2015, 33(2), 337-351;