Article

Endocytosis-like protein uptake in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 07/2010; 107(29):12883-8. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001085107
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Endocytosis is a process by which extracellular material such as macromolecules can be incorporated into cells via a membrane-trafficking system. Although universal among eukaryotes, endocytosis has not been identified in Bacteria or Archaea. However, intracellular membranes are known to compartmentalize cells of bacteria in the phylum Planctomycetes, suggesting the potential for endocytosis and membrane trafficking in members of this phylum. Here we show that cells of the planctomycete Gemmata obscuriglobus have the ability to uptake proteins present in the external milieu in an energy-dependent process analogous to eukaryotic endocytosis, and that internalized proteins are associated with vesicle membranes. Occurrence of such ability in a bacterium is consistent with autogenous evolution of endocytosis and the endomembrane system in an ancestral noneukaryote cell.

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    • "Prokaryotes made many a start. There are examples of bacteria or archaea with nucleus-like structures (Lindsay et al. 2001), recombination (Smith et al. 1993), linear chromosomes (Bentley et al. 2002), internal membranes (Pinevich 1997), multiple replicons (Robinson and Bell 2007), giant size (Schulz and Jorgensen 2001), extreme polyploidy (Mendell et al. 2008), a dynamic cytoskeleton (Vats and Rothfield 2009), predation (Davidov and Jurkevitch 2009), parasitism (Moran 2007), introns and exons (Simon and Zimmerly 2008), intercellular signaling (Waters and Bassler 2005), endocytosis-like processes (Lonhienne et al. 2010), and even endosymbionts (Wujek 1979; von Dohlen et al. 2001). Yet, for each of these traits, bacteria and archaea stopped well short of the baroque complexity of eukaryotes. "
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    • "In the last decade, special importance has been given to this group in the field of evolutionary biology because of the unusual presence of characteristics that are usually features mainly found in eukaryotic cells (Devos and Reynaud 2010; Fuerst and Sagulenko 2012). These include the presence of membrane-bounded cell compartments (Lindsay et al. 1997, 2001), the absence of the common bacterial tubulin like protein FtsZ (Pilhofer et al. 2008; Bernander and Ettema 2010), that is also absent in eukaryotes and the archaeal group Crenachaeota (Vaughan et al. 2004), the ability to perform endocytosis (Lonhienne et al. 2010), that was never found in Bacteria or Archaea and the presence of genes homologous to membrane coat protein genes (Santarella-Mellwig et al. 2010) that are essential in the eukaryotic endocytosis. Other unusual features in this group are the budding reproduction of many of their members, the presence of crateriform structures on the cell surface, whose function is still unknown and the presence of a proteinaceous cell wall that lacks the characteristic bacterial peptidoglycan with consequent ability to resist to b-lactam antibiotics. "
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