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. 2018;1829:17-35.
doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8654-5_2.

Complex Endosymbioses I: From Primary to Complex Plastids, Multiple Independent Events


Complex Endosymbioses I: From Primary to Complex Plastids, Multiple Independent Events

Zoltán Füssy et al. Methods Mol Biol. .


A substantial portion of eukaryote diversity consists of algae with complex plastids, i.e., plastids originating from eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbioses. These plastids are characteristic by a deviating number of envelope membranes (higher than two), and sometimes a remnant nucleus of the endosymbiont alga, termed the nucleomorph, is present. Complex plastid-bearing algae are therefore much like living matryoshka dolls, eukaryotes within eukaryotes. In comparison, primary plastids of Archaeplastida (plants, green algae, red algae, and glaucophytes) arose upon a single endosymbiosis event with a cyanobacterium and are surrounded by two membranes. Complex plastids were acquired several times by unrelated groups nested within eukaryotic heterotrophs, suggesting complex plastids are somewhat easier to obtain than primary plastids. This is consistent with the existence of higher-order and serial endosymbioses, i.e., engulfment of complex plastid-bearing algae by (tertiary) eukaryotic hosts and functional plastid replacements, respectively. Plastid endosymbiosis is typical by a massive transfer of genetic material from the endosymbiont to the host nucleus and metabolic rearrangements related to the trophic switch to phototrophy; this is necessary to establish metabolic integration of the plastid and control over its division. Although photosynthesis is the main advantage of plastid acquisition, algae that lost photosynthesis often maintain complex plastids, suggesting their roles beyond photosynthesis. This chapter summarizes basic knowledge on acquisition and functions of complex plastid.

Keywords: Complex endosymbiosis; Plastid replacement; Reductive evolution.

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