Multidomain Ribosomal Protein Trees and the Planctobacterial Origin of Neomura (Eukaryotes, Archaebacteria)

Protoplasma. 2020 May;257(3):621-753. doi: 10.1007/s00709-019-01442-7. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


Palaeontologically, eubacteria are > 3× older than neomura (eukaryotes, archaebacteria). Cell biology contrasts ancestral eubacterial murein peptidoglycan walls and derived neomuran N-linked glycoprotein coats/walls. Misinterpreting long stems connecting clade neomura to eubacteria on ribosomal sequence trees (plus misinterpreted protein paralogue trees) obscured this historical pattern. Universal multiprotein ribosomal protein (RP) trees, more accurate than rRNA trees, are taxonomically undersampled. To reduce contradictions with genically richer eukaryote trees and improve eubacterial phylogeny, we constructed site-heterogeneous and maximum-likelihood universal three-domain, two-domain, and single-domain trees for 143 eukaryotes (branching now congruent with 187-protein trees), 60 archaebacteria, and 151 taxonomically representative eubacteria, using 51 and 26 RPs. Site-heterogeneous trees greatly improve eubacterial phylogeny and higher classification, e.g. showing gracilicute monophyly, that many 'rDNA-phyla' belong in Proteobacteria, and reveal robust new phyla Synthermota and Aquithermota. Monoderm Posibacteria and Mollicutes (two separate wall losses) are both polyphyletic: multiple outer membrane losses in Endobacteria occurred separately from Actinobacteria; neither phylum is related to Chloroflexi, the most divergent prokaryotes, which originated photosynthesis (new model proposed). RP trees support an eozoan root for eukaryotes and are consistent with archaebacteria being their sisters and rooted between Filarchaeota (=Proteoarchaeota, including 'Asgardia') and Euryarchaeota sensu-lato (including ultrasimplified 'DPANN' whose long branches often distort trees). Two-domain trees group eukaryotes within Planctobacteria, and archaebacteria with Planctobacteria/Sphingobacteria. Integrated molecular/palaeontological evidence favours negibacterial ancestors for neomura and all life. Unique presence of key pre-neomuran characters favours Planctobacteria only as ancestral to neomura, which apparently arose by coevolutionary repercussions (explained here in detail, including RP replacement) of simultaneous outer membrane and murein loss. Planctobacterial C-1 methanotrophic enzymes are likely ancestral to archaebacterial methanogenesis and β-propeller-α-solenoid proteins to eukaryotic vesicle coats, nuclear-pore-complexes, and intraciliary transport. Planctobacterial chaperone-independent 4/5-protofilament microtubules and MamK actin-ancestors prepared for eukaryote intracellular motility, mitosis, cytokinesis, and phagocytosis. We refute numerous wrong ideas about the universal tree.

Keywords: Archaebacteria; Eubacterial phylogeny; Eukaryogenesis; Ribosomal protein universal tree; Rooting eukaryote trees.

Publication types

  • Review