Evolution

Sulfate Supplier

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Science  08 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5962, pp. 127
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5962.127-c

The mitochondrion was kidnapped from the ranks of free-living bacteria, and subsequently coerced in various ways by eukaryotic cells to supply them with energy in the form of ATP synthesized by means of aerobic respiration. Historically, anaerobic cells were thought to lack mitochondria, but this prohibition has been modified somewhat with the discovery of intracellular organelles sporting mitochondrion-like features such as a double membrane, the protein chaperonin 60, and enzymes that assemble iron-sulfur clusters (which are a component of many respiratory enzymes). The hydrogenosome of Trichomonas produces hydrogen and ATP, and the mitosome, which produces neither hydrogen nor ATP, is found in Entamoeba. Mi-ichi et al. have begun to tabulate the protein repertoire of the mitosome, which appears to have been patched together from two proteobacterial sources, as well as a eukaryote. Three of the dominant constituents were ATP sulfurylase, adenylyl-sulfate kinase, and inorganic pyrophosphatase, indicating that one of the functions of this organelle may be the activation of sulfate, quite possibly for incorporation into sulfolipids.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 106, 21731 (2009).

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