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Cory D. Dunn
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preprint description
Eukaryotic cells are generally characterized by a considerable increase in subcellular compartmentalization in comparison to prokaryotes. Eukaryotes can also form multicellular organisms consisting of highly specialized cell types. Most evidence suggests that the earliest eukaryotes consisted of mitochondria derived from an α-proteobacterial ancestor enclosed within an archaeon-derived host cell. However, what specific benefits the archaeal host and the proto-mitochondrial endosymbiont each obtained from this endosymbiotic relationship remains unclear. In this work, we argue that endosymbiont-generated heat may have initially permitted an archaeal host living at very high temperatures to colonize a cooler environment, and we describe how subsequent events could have prompted the increased apparent complexity of eukaryotic cells.

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