Divergent mitochondrial respiratory chains in phototrophic relatives of apicomplexan parasites

Pavel Flegontov, Jan Michálek, Jan Janouškovec, De Hua Lai, Milan Jirků, Eva Hajdušková, Aleš Tomčala, Thomas D. Otto, Patrick J. Keeling, Arnab Pain, Miroslav Oborník, J. Lukeš

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Four respiratory complexes and ATP-synthase represent central functional units in mitochondria. In some mitochondria and derived anaerobic organelles, a few or all of these respiratory complexes have been lost during evolution. We show that the respiratory chain of Chromera velia, a phototrophic relative of parasitic apicomplexans, lacks complexes I and III, making it a uniquely reduced aerobic mitochondrion. In Chromera, putative lactate:cytochrome c oxidoreductases are predicted to transfer electrons from lactate to cytochrome c, rendering complex III unnecessary. The mitochondrial genome of Chromera has the smallest known protein-coding capacity of all mitochondria, encoding just cox1 and cox3 on heterogeneous linear molecules. In contrast, another photosynthetic relative of apicomplexans, Vitrella brassicaformis, retains the same set of genes as apicomplexans and dinoflagellates (cox1, cox3, and cob). © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1131
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 6 2015

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): FIC/2010/09
Acknowledgements: The authors thank the KAUST Bioscience Core Laboratory personnel for sequencing Illumina libraries used in this project, Evgeny S. Gerasimov (Institute for Information Transmission Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) and Martin Kolisko (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) for help with sequence analysis, Oldrich Benada (Institute of Microbiology, Prague) for help with electron microscopy, Anton Horvath (Comenius University, Bratislava), Dave Speijer (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam), and Ivan Hrdy (Charles University, Prague) for useful comments. This work was supported by Czech Science Foundation grants P506/12/1522, 13-33039S (support for J.M.) and P501/12/G055 (support for A.T.) to M.O., project Algatech (CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.0110) to M.O., FP7 agreement 316304 to M.O. and J.L., the KAUST award FIC/2010/09 to A.P., M.O. and J.L., and by a grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to P.J.K. and J.L. is also supported by the Praemium Academiae, and P.F. by a grant of the Moravian-Silesian region (project MSK2013-DT1) and by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project 14-04-31936). P.J.K. and J.L. are Senior Fellows and J.J. is a Global Scholar at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and P.J.K. was supported by a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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