Abstract. Many eubacteria contain an ATPdependent protease complex, which is built by multiple copies of the HslV and HslU proteins and is therefore called HslVU. HslU proteins are AAA + ATPases, while HslV proteins are proteases that show highly significant similarity to b subunits of proteasomes. Therefore, the HslVU complex has been envisaged as a precursor or ancestral type of proteasome. Here we show that species of most of the main eukaryotic lineages have HslU and HslV genes very similar to those found in proteobacteria. We have detected them in amoebozoa, plantae, chromoalveolata, rhizaria, and excavata species. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that these genes have been obtained by endosymbiosis from the proteobacterial ancestor that gave rise to eukaryotic mitochondria. The products encoded by these eukaryotic genes adopt, according to modeling based on the known crystal structures of prokaryotic HslU and HslV proteins, conformations that are compatible with their being fully active, suggesting that functional HslVU complexes may be present in many eukaryotic species
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