The Endosymbiotic Theory Of Eukaryotic Cells


The defining feature of eukaryotic skin cells is that they contain membrane-bound organelles and a 'true' nucleus. The endosymbiotic theory is situated upon the theory that eukaryotic skin cells advanced in steps beginning with the steady incorporation of chemo-organotrophic and phototrophic symbionts from the website bacteria. This essay reviewed the data that facilitates this theory. After investigating the molecular, physiological and morphological proof, it is nearly sure that chloroplasts and mitochondria are from the domain bacteria, and that many of the genes required for the survival of these organelles are contained within the nuclear DNA of the eukaryotic cell as opposed to the organelle's own indie DNA. It really is because of this that I believe endosymbiosis was the process whereby eukaryotes began to form and evolve. It had been found that the genome of any protozoan, Reclinomonas, covered all the protein-coding within sequenced mitochondrial genomes, providing support for the speculative procedure for endosymbiotic gene copy. The hydrogen hypothesis seems to be the most likely scenario for the formation of eukaryotes, which talks about the need for compartmentalisation with increasing coordinator genome size to improve efficiency of function throughout the cell, and the chimeric aspect of eukaryotes.


Based upon data accumulated from sluggish decaying radioactive isotopes, Globe is thought to have formed around 4. 55 billion years back. From this time of origins, a continual procedure for geological and physical change has occurred, which created conditions leading to the origin of life about 4 billion years ago. Life is considered to have undergone the procedure of evolution, defined as 'DNA series change and the inheritance of that change, often under the selective stresses of the changing environment. ' (1) Microfossil data suggests that unicellular eukaryotes arose on Earth about 2 billion years back, after the development of an oxic environment and the technology of breathing metabolism in cyanobacteria. This timing infers that the availability of oxygen was a sizable effect on the biological evolution that led to the introduction of Eukarya. (1)

"The defining attribute of eukaryotes is the occurrence of your well-defined nucleus within each cell. " (2) Typical eukaryotic skin cells contain a membrane bound nucleus and organelles enclosed by an outer plasma membrane; these organelles are organised into compartmentalised structures that have their own function(s) within the cell, often working with other organelles to complete vital biological functions. This compartmentation in skin cells is essential in organisms as it allows differing compositions of nutrition to exist inside each compartment instead of outside, creating perfect conditions for biochemical reactions to occur. (3) The dissimilarities between eukaryotes and prokaryotes are shown in Stand 1:

Mitochondria are membrane-bound organelles within the cytoplasm of all eukaryotic skin cells and are most concentrated in skin cells associated with energetic operations, such as muscle skin cells which constantly require energy for muscle contraction. The two surrounding membranes that encompass a mitochondrion differ in function and composition, creating specific compartments within the organelle. The exterior membrane is regular in appearance and made up of protein and lipids, in around equal measure, whilst the outer membrane contains porin proteins making it more permeable. The internal membrane is merely widely permeable to oxygen, water and skin tightening and; it contains many infoldings, or cristae, that protrude into the central matrix space, significantly increasing the surface area and offering it an unusual shape. As can be seen in Physique 1, mitochondria contain ribosomes and also have their own hereditary materials, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), independent from the nuclear DNA. (4)

Mitochondria will be the rule sites of ATP creation- in an activity known as oxidative phosphorylation. Products of the Krebs routine, NADH + H+ and FADH2, are carried forwards to the electron carry chain (ETC) and are oxidised to NAD+ and Gimmick, liberating hydrogen atoms. These hydrogen atoms break up to produce protons and electrons, and the electrons are passed down the ETC between electron companies, dropping energy at each level. This energy is utilised by pumping the protons into the intermembranal space triggering an electrochemical gradient between the intermembranal space and the mitochondrial matrix. The protons diffuse down the electrochemical gradient through specific channels on the stalked allergens of the cristae, where ATPsynthase located at the stalked particles, supplies electronic potential energy to convert ADP and inorganic phosphate to ATP. In mammalian cells, enzymes in the interior mitochondrial membrane and central matrix space carry out the terminal periods of blood sugar and fatty acid oxidation along the way of ATP synthesis. Mitochondria also play an important role in the regulation of ionised calcium mineral concentration within cells, largely because of the ability to accumulate substantial amounts of calcium. (3)(5)

Chloroplasts are membrane-bound organelles found within photosynthetic eukaryotes. Chloroplasts are encircled by a two times membrane, the outer membrane being regular to look at whilst the internal membrane contains infoldings to form an interconnected system of disc-shaped sacs called thylakoids. These are often arranged directly into stacks called grana. Enclosed within the internal membrane of the chloroplast is a fluid-filled region called the stroma, formulated with water and the enzymes necessary for the light-independent reactions (the Calvin routine) in photosynthesis. The thylakoid membrane is the site of the light based mostly reactions in photosynthesis, possesses photosynthetic pigments (such as chlorophyll and carotenoids) and electron carry chains. Chloroplasts, like mitochondria, contain ribosomes and their own independent DNA (ctDNA), which is central to the idea of endosymbiosis. The composition of a typical chloroplast is shown by Amount 2:

Radiant energy is caught by photosynthetic pigments and used to excite electrons in order to create ATP by photophosphorylation. The light based mostly reactions occur in the thylakoid membrane (Photosystem II or P680) and eventually, these reactions produce the ATP and NADPH necessary for photosynthesis to keep in the stroma (where Photosystem I or P700 is located). A series of light 3rd party reactions happen within the stroma producing sugars from carbon dioxide and normal water using ATP and NADPH.

The most backed hypothesis (put forward by Lynn Margulis) for the origin of the eukaryotic cell is that of endosymbiosis which is suitably called as 'symbiosis occurs when two different species benefit from living and working alongside one another. When one organism actually lives inside the other it's called endosymbiosis. '(6) The endosymbiosis hypothesis expresses that 'the modern, or organelle-containing eukaryotic cell evolved in steps through the steady incorporation of chemo-organotrophic and phototrophic symbionts from the site Bacteria. ' In other words, chloroplasts and mitochondria of modern-day eukaryotes arose from the secure incorporation into another type of cell of any chemoorganotrophic bacterium, which underwent facultative aerobic respiration, and a cyanobacterium, which carried out oxygenic photosynthesis. The beneficial association between the engulfed prokaryote and eukaryote could have given the eukaryote an edge over neighbouring skin cells, and the idea is usually that the prokaryote and eukaryote lost the capability to live individually. (1)

Oxygen was a key point in endosymbiosis and in the surge of the eukaryotic cell through its creation in photosynthesis by the ancestor of the chloroplast and its own utilization in energy-producing metabolic procedures by the ancestor of the mitochondrion. It really is well worth noting that eukaryotes underwent immediate evolution, most probably because of their capability to exploit sunlight for energy and the higher yields of energy released by aerobic respiration. Support for the endosymbiosis hypothesis are available in the physiology and metabolism of mitochondria and chloroplasts, as well as the composition and sequence of these genomes. (1) Similarities between modern-day chloroplasts, mitochondria, and prokaryotes relative to eukaryotes are shown in table 2:

Molecular Evidence

When Margulis suggested the endosymbiotic theory, she forecasted that if the organelles really were prokaryotic symbionts, they might contain their own 3rd party DNA. This is shown to be the truth in the 1980's for mitochondria and chloroplasts. (7)Furthermore, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was found to truly have a proportionally higher ratio of guanine-cytosine bottom part pairs than in eukaryotic nuclear DNA, as within bacteria. These findings are significant as they firmly claim that mitochondria and chloroplasts are of prokaryotic origins and nature, helping the opportunity that the eukaryotic cell improved from the secure incorporation of symbionts from the domain name Bacteria. Another dazzling similarity between mitochondria and bacterias is that they both contain 70S ribosomes and include a similar order of genes encoding ribosomal protein a shown in Number 4:

It is only good that the molecular problems associated with the endosymbiosis hypothesis which may have been submit are considered. First of all, mitochondria and chloroplasts can only come up from pre-existing mitochondria and chloroplasts, having lost many essential genes necessary for survival. It has been suggested that this is as a result of large timespan that the mitochondria/chloroplasts have co-existed. During this time, systems and genes that were no longer needed were either simply erased or transferred in to the number genome. Hence, mitochondria and chloroplasts have lost the ability to live independently over time. This facilitates the endosymbiotic theory as it provides a reason as to why the ancestors of the chloroplasts and mitochondria were able to survive individually whilst chloroplast and mitochondria are unable to achieve this now. The analysis of mitochondrial genomes so far has suggested that mitochondrial genomes actually encode less than 70 of the protein that mitochondria need to operate; most being encoded by the nuclear genome and targeted to mitochondria using proteins import machinery that is specific to the organelle. (7) It's been discovered that the genome of Reclinomonas contains all the protein-coding genes within all the sequenced mitochondrial genomes: (8)

The need for Figure 5 is that it shows that the mitochondrial genome no more contains many of the protein-coding genes, and therefore, mitochondria are no more in a position to live individually. The mitochondrial endosymbiont is thought to have belonged to the proteobacteria since several genes and proteins still encoded by the mitochondrial genome branch in molecular trees among homologues out of this group. Oddly enough, mitochondrial proteins like the 60- and 70-kDa heating shock proteins (Hsp60, Hsp70), also branch among proteobacterial homologues, but the genes are encoded by the web host nuclear genome. (9) This is explained by a theory called endosymbiotic gene copy which declares that 'during the span of mitochondrial genome lowering, genes were transferred from the endosymbiont's genome to the host's chromosomes, however the encoded protein were reimported into the organelle where they originally functioned. ' (7) This theory is central to the endosymbiotic theory, as it talks about the inability of chloroplasts and mitochondria to live on separately even though these organelles are believed to have comes from the domain Bacteria. Additionally it is believed that gene copy has provided an essential manner in which mitochondrial or chloroplast activity can be controlled. The studies of protists 'raise the probability that mitochondria originated at essentially the same time as the nuclear element of the eukaryotic cell alternatively than in a separate, following event. ' (10) T

This would participate in the hydrogen hypothesis as referred to later. A further problem to consider is the amount to which genes were transferred to the cell nucleus. Why did some genes remain in the cytoplasmic organelles? This question has been resolved by the Co-location for Redox Rules (CoRR) hypothesis, which says that the positioning of genetic information in cytoplasmic organelles permits legislation of its manifestation by the reduction-oxidation ('redox') state of its gene products. Therefore, development by natural selection could have favoured mitochondrial or chloroplast cells that had deleted or moved some genes to the sponsor genome but got kept those that were still beneficial in the rules of the organelle's activity. (11)

Physiological Evidence

Evidence for the endosymbiosis theory are available in the physiology of mitochondria and chloroplasts. For instance, both mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own protein-synthesising equipment which strongly resembles that of Bacterias alternatively than that of Eukaryotes. Ribosome function in mitochondria and chloroplasts are inhibited by the same antibiotics that inhibit ribosome function in free-living bacterias. Hence, it is no surprise that both these organelles contain 70S ribosomes typical of prokaryotic cells, and show 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences, a characteristic of certain Bacteria such as Escherichia coli. (1) For example, real human mitochondrial ribosomes can be affected by chloramphenicol (an antibiotic used to inhibit protein synthesis), further evidence that mitochondria will tend to be of bacterial origin. Chloramphenicol is a comparatively simple molecule including a nitrobenzene diamond ring responsible for some of the toxicity problems associated with the drug:

Chloramphenicol inhibits protein synthesis because of its high affinity for the large (50S) ribosomal subunit, which when bound to chloramphenicol, blocks the action of peptidyl transferase, protecting against peptide connection synthesis. It has also been discovered that chloramphenicol prevents the maturation of the 30S ribosomal subunits, decreasing the number of capable subunits and significantly reducing the percentage of mitochondrial ribonucleoprotein present as monomers. (12) Also, the antibiotic rifampicin which inhibits the RNA polymerase of Bacteria has been found to inhibit the RNA polymerase within bacteria. Protein of chloroplast or mitochondrion origin, like bacteria, always utilize N-formylmethionine as their initiating amino acid of these transcript. (13) Mitochondria replicate, like bacteria, only by the process of binary fission inferring that mitochondria do indeed originate from prokaryotes. The completion of the genome sequence of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis, has provided data for the foundation of chloroplast translocation apparatus. As the endosymbiosis theory predicts, research of this sequence showed that three key translocation components within chloroplasts, Toc75, Tic22 and Tic20, advanced from existing proteins within the cyanobacterial genome. (14)Mitochondria and chloroplasts have extremely similar mechanisms where ATP is produced. These ATP-generating pathways often include electron transfer chains and proton pumps, similar to that found in prokaryotic energy production mechanisms.

One of the most recent issues with the endosymbiosis theory is available within the physiology of mitochondria. 'Mounting information shows that key components of the mitochondrial transcription and replication apparatus derive from the T-odd lineage of bacteriophage alternatively than from an ‹±-Proteobacterium, as the endosymbiont hypothesis would forecast. '(15) It's been discovered that three of the fundamental elements of the replication and transcription apparatus; the RNA polymerase, the replicative primase-helicase and the DNA polymerase do not resemble those of eubacteria as expected by the symbiosis theory, but instead appears to resemble proteins encoded by T-odd bacteriophages. However, this will not disprove the theory of endosymbiosis as it is conceivable that lots of mitochondrial genes were acquired along from an ancestor of T-odd phage early in the forming of the eukaryotic cell, at that time when the mitochondrial symbiont was incorporated. (15)

Morphological Evidence

Another attribute that further works with the hypothesis is the fact that mitochondria and chloroplasts contain small amounts of DNA that differs from that of the cell nucleus which is arranged in a covalently shut down, circular structure, with no associated histones, typical of Bacterias. Mitochondria are surrounded by two membranes, separated by the inter-membranal space and each with a different composition. Mitochondrial membranes more strongly resemble membranes found in Gram-negative bacterias in terms of lipid composition than eukaryotic membranes. (16) The inner-membrane infoldings in the mitochondria lends more reliability to the endosymbiosis theory as the cristae "are adaptations that increase the surface of oxidative enzymes, evolutionary analogues to the mesosomal membranes of several prokaryotes" (16)Further information that mitochondria and chloroplasts are of a prokaryotic origins is the lack of cholesterol in their membranes. That is significant because it is an essential structural aspect in many eukaryotic membranes, mainly in mammalian cell membrane, but it almost completely absent among prokaryotes.

Another problem is that recent hereditary evaluation of small eukaryotes that lack many characteristics that are associated with eukaryotic cells, most importantly mitochondria, show that each of them still retain genes mixed up in synthesis of mitochondrial protein. In 1983, the taxon Archezoa was suggested to unite this band of odd eukaryotes, and the perception was these cells acquired diverged from other eukaryotes before these characteristics developed and hence displayed primitive eukaryotic lineages. Prior to the recent genetic discovery that shows these eukaryotes contain genes involved with mitochondrial health proteins synthesis, molecular work recognized their primitive position, as they consistently fell deep into the branches of eukaryotic trees and shrubs. This recent genetic analysis implies that each one of these eukaryotes once experienced mitochondria, recommending that they evolved following the mitochondrial symbiosis. There is also the question of the way the eukaryotic cell arose, including the dynamics and properties of the cell that received mitochondria and later chloroplasts, and how the nuclear membrane was created which touches upon the compatmentalisation within skin cells and its own importance in the performing of the eukaryotic cell. (7)

Formation of the eukaryotic cell

There have been two hypotheses submit to explain the way the eukaryotic cell arose. One expresses that eukaryotes started out as a nucleus-bearing lineage that later bought the bacterial ancestor of the mitochondrion and the cyanobacterial ancestor of the chloroplast by the process of endosymbiosis. This nucleated line then diverged into the lineages giving go up to pets or animals and plants. It really is thought that the nucleus arose spontaneously in an early on cell. One possible cause for the spontaneous formation of the nucleus is the fact it arose in response to the increasing genome size of early on eukaryotes. (1)

The second hypothesis, also called the hydrogen hypothesis, states that the bacterial ancestor of the mitochondrion was taken up by an associate of the Archaea via endosymbiosis, and from this association, the nucleus later surfaced, accompanied by a later acquisition of the cyanobacterial ancestor of the chloroplast. The main difference between these two hypotheses is the positioning of the mitochondrion relative to the formation of the nucleus in time and hence on the common phylogenetic tree. The hydrogen hypothesis submit by William F. Martin and Miklos Muller in 1998, proposes that the eukaryotic cell arose from a symbiotic association of any anaerobic, hydrogen centered, autotrophic archaebacterium (the host) with a hydrogen producing, air consuming eubacterium (the symbiont), which released molecular hydrogen as a throw away product of anaerobic heterotrophic metabolism. (17) The dependence of the coordinator upon the molecular hydrogen as an energy source, produced as a waste material product by the symbiont is thought to be what lead to the association. In this circumstance, the nucleus arose following the formation of the stable connection between these two kinds of cells, and genes involved with lipid synthesis were moved from the symbiont to the number chromosome. This may have business lead to the formation of bacterial (symbiont) lipids by the number, eventually leading to the creation of an interior membrane system, the endoplasmic reticulum and the first stages of an eukaryotic nucleus. As how big is the coordinator genome increased as time passes, changes were made to maximise the efficiency of replication and gene appearance via the process of progression. Hence, as time passes, this kind of cell compartmentalised and sequestered the hereditary coding information in just a protected membrane away from the cytoplasm. The formation of a mitochondrion-containing nucleated cell series was complete, which in turn later bought chloroplasts by endosymbiosis. The hydrogen hypothesis has explains the observation that eukaryotes are of chimeric nature, containing traits of both Bacterias and Archaea. (1)


In brief summary, molecular, physiological and morphological facts can be found to aid the endosymbiosis theory put forward by Lynn Margulis. Most powerful which is the numerous similarities between organelles such as chloroplasts and mitochondria with prokaryotes, in conjunction with the inability of the organelles to reside separately despite having their own indie DNA credited to the majority of the genes necessary for the survival of the organelle being stored in the nuclear DNA of the web host. The importance of this should not be underestimated, as it can all but prove that the ancestors of mitochondria and chloroplasts were of an prokaryotic origin and thus were once in a position to live independently. Therefore, this does lend credibility to the endosymbiosis theory as the symbionts which were allegedly designed were more likely to have been from the domain name bacteria, and that something must have occurred which discontinued the symbionts having the ability to live independently, a meeting which many researchers now believe that to be the procedure of endosymbiotic gene copy. The hydrogen hypothesis appears to be the likely scenario for the way the eukaryotic cell improved, as it explains the formation of the nucleus to be a respond to the growing size of the nuclear genome of the sponsor, which could have maximised efficiency of gene expression. Endosymbiosis also points out why the eukaryotic cell is apparently of any chimeric nature; comprising capabilities of Archaea (e. g. similar transcription and translation equipment) and Bacteria (e. g. contain same type of lipids).

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)