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Presence of a mitochondrial-type 70-kDa heat shock protein in Trichomonas vaginalis suggests a very early mitochondrial endosymbiosis in eukaryotes

By Agnès Germot, Hervé Philippe and Hervé Le Guyader


Molecular phylogenetic analyses, based mainly on ribosomal RNA, show that three amitochondriate protist lineages, diplomonads, microsporidia, and trichomonads, emerge consistently at the base of the eukaryotic tree before groups having mitochondria. This suggests that these groups could have diverged before the mitochondrial endosymbiosis. Nevertheless, since all these organisms live in anaerobic environments, the absence of mitochondria might be due to secondary loss, as demonstrated for the later emerging eukaryote Entamoeba histolytica. We have now isolated from Trichomonas vaginalis a gene encoding a chaperone protein (HSP70) that in other lineages is addressed to the mitochondrial compartment. The phylogenetic reconstruction unambiguously located this HSP70 within a large set of mitochondrial sequences, itself a sister-group of α-purple bacteria. In addition, the T. vaginalis protein exhibits the GDAWV sequence signature, so far exclusively found in mitochondrial HSP70 and in proteobacterial dnaK. Thus mitochondrial endosymbiosis could have occurred earlier than previously assumed. The trichomonad double membrane-bounded organelles, the hydrogenosomes, could have evolved from mitochondria

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Year: 1996
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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