Origins and early evolution of photosynthetic eukaryotes

Abstract : Primary plastids derive from a cyanobacterium that entered into an endosymbioticrelationship with a eukaryotic host. This event gave rise to the supergroup Archaeplastida whichcomprises Viridiplantae (green algae and land plants), Rhodophyta (red algae) and Glaucophyta. Afterprimary endosymbiosis, red and green algae spread the ability to photosynthesize to other eukaryoticlineages via secondary endosymbioses. Although considerable progress has been made in theunderstanding of the evolution of photosynthetic eukaryotes, important questions remained debatedsuch as the present-day closest cyanobacterial lineage to primary plastids as well as the number andidentity of partners in secondary endosymbioses.The main objectives of my PhD were to study the origin and evolution of plastid-bearing eukaryotesusing phylogenetic and phylogenomic approaches to shed some light on how primary and secondaryendosymbioses occurred. In this work, I show that primary plastids evolved from a close relative ofGloeomargarita lithophora, a recently sequenced early-branching cyanobacterium that has been onlydetected in terrestrial environments. This result provide interesting hints on the ecological setting whereprimary endosymbiosis likely took place. Regarding the evolution of eukaryotic lineages with secondaryplastids, I show that the nuclear genomes of chlorarachniophytes and euglenids, two photosyntheticlineages with green alga-derived plastids, encode for a large number of genes acquired by transfersfrom red algae. Finally, I highlight that SELMA, the translocation machinery putatively used to importproteins across the second outermost membrane of secondary red plastids with four membranes, has asurprisingly complex history with strong evolutionary implications: cryptophytes have recruited a set ofSELMA components different from those present in haptophytes, stramenopiles and alveolates.In conclusion, during my PhD I identified for the first time the closest living cyanobacterium to primaryplastids and provided new insights on the complex evolution that have undergone secondary plastid-bearing eukaryotes
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Rafael Isaac Ponce Toledo. Origins and early evolution of photosynthetic eukaryotes. Populations and Evolution [q-bio.PE]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS047⟩. ⟨tel-01760725⟩

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