Mitochondrial and plastid evolution in eukaryotes: An outsiders' perspective

Jeferson Gross, Debashish Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The eukaryotic organelles mitochondrion and plastid originated from eubacterial endosymbionts. Here we propose that, in both cases, prokaryote-to-organelle conversion was driven by the internalization of host-encoded factors progressing from the outer membrane of the endosymbionts towards the intermembrane space, inner membrane and finally the organelle interior. This was made possible by an outside-to-inside establishment in the endosymbionts of host-controlled protein-sorting components, which enabled the gradual integration of organelle functions into the nuclear genome. Such a convergent trajectory for mitochondrion and plastid establishment suggests a novel paradigm for organelle evolution that affects theories of eukaryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-505
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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