The bacterial enzymes acetate kinase (AK) and phosphotransacetylase (PTA) form a key pathway for synthesis of the central metabolic intermediate acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) from acetate or for generation of ATP from excess acetyl-CoA. Putative AK genes have now been identified in some eukaryotic microbes. In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Phytophthora species, AK forms a pathway with PTA. AK has also been identified in non-yeast fungi but these fungi do not have PTA. Instead, AK forms a pathway with D-xylulose 5-phosphate phosphoketolase (XFP), a pathway that was also previously found only in bacteria. In Entamoeba histolytica, neither PTA nor XFP was found as a partner for AK. Thus, eukaryotic microbes seem to have incorporated the 'bacterial' enzyme AK into at least three different metabolic pathways.