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Archaeal Histone Contributions to the Origin of Eukaryotes
- Brunk, Clifford F., Martin, William F.
- Trends in microbiology 2019 v.27 no.8 pp. 703-714
- Archaea, DNA, cell cycle, endomembrane system, energy, epigenetics, eukaryotic cells, genes, histones, mitochondria, nucleosomes, protein synthesis
- The eukaryotic lineage arose from bacterial and archaeal cells that underwent a symbiotic merger. At the origin of the eukaryote lineage, the bacterial partner contributed genes, metabolic energy, and the building blocks of the endomembrane system. What did the archaeal partner donate that made the eukaryotic experiment a success? The archaeal partner provided the potential for complex information processing. Archaeal histones were crucial in that regard by providing the basic functional unit with which eukaryotes organize DNA into nucleosomes, exert epigenetic control of gene expression, transcribe genes with CCAAT-box promoters, and a manifest cell cycle with condensed chromosomes. While mitochondrial energy lifted energetic constraints on eukaryotic protein production, histone-based chromatin organization paved the path to eukaryotic genome complexity, a critical hurdle en route to the evolution of complex cells.