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Origin of eukaryotes: What can be learned from the first successfully isolated Asgard archaeon

Albers, Sonja; Ashmore, Jonathan; Pollard, Thomas; Spang, Anja; Zhou, Jizhong; (2022) Origin of eukaryotes: What can be learned from the first successfully isolated Asgard archaeon. Faculty Reviews , 11 , Article 3. 10.12703/r-01-000005. Green open access

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Abstract

The origin of cellular complexity characterizing eukaryotic cells remains a central unresolved issue in the study of diversification of cellular life on Earth. The isolation by Imachi et al.1 of a member of the Asgard archaea2 – a contemporary relative of organisms thought to have given rise to eukaryotic cells about 2 billion years ago – now promises new insight. The complete genome sequence of the isolated Lokiarchaeum strain confirms that the eukaryotic signature proteins (ESPs) previously identified in the Lokiarchaeota3 and other Asgard archaea2 are indeed encoded by these archaeal genomes and do not represent contamination from eukaryotes. These ESPs encode homologs of eukaryotic actins, small GTPases and the ESCRT complex proteins and are required for the functioning of complex eukaryotic cells. The new, slowly growing, anaerobic laboratory strain allows a first direct look at these organisms and provides key insights into the morphology and metabolism of an Asgard archaeal organism. The work has provided valuable information for other laboratories that aim to isolate and characterize related organisms from other environments.

Type: Article
Title: Origin of eukaryotes: What can be learned from the first successfully isolated Asgard archaeon
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12703/r-01-000005
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.12703/r-01-000005
Language: English
Additional information: This is the published version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Archeon, Asgard archaea, Eukaryotes, MK-D1
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147668
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