The intracellular cyanobacteria of Paulinella chromatophora: endosymbionts or organelles?

Trends Microbiol. 2007 Jul;15(7):295-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2007.05.002. Epub 2007 May 30.


Endosymbiotic relationships are common across the tree of life and have had profound impacts on cellular evolution and diversity. Recent molecular investigations of the amoeba Paulinella chromatophora have raised a timely and important question: should obligatory intracellular cyanobacteria in Paulinella be considered new organelles, or do plastids and mitochondria hold a unique stature in the history of endosymbiotic events? We argue that drawing a sharp distinction between these two organelles and all other endosymbionts is not supported by accumulating data, neither is it a productive framework for investigating organelle evolution.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Amoeba / cytology
  • Amoeba / microbiology*
  • Amoeba / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cyanobacteria / classification
  • Cyanobacteria / physiology*
  • Organelles / classification
  • Organelles / physiology*
  • Symbiosis / physiology*