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Convergent evolution in intracellular elements: plasmids as model endosymbionts

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Dietel,  Anne-Kathrin
Research Group Dr. C. Kost, Experimental Ecology and Evolution, Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, Prof. Dr. W. Boland, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Ecological Interactions, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Kost,  Christian
Research Group Dr. C. Kost, Experimental Ecology and Evolution, Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, Prof. Dr. W. Boland, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Dietel, A.-K., Kaltenpoth, M., & Kost, C. (2018). Convergent evolution in intracellular elements: plasmids as model endosymbionts. Trends in Microbiology, 26(9), 755-768. doi:10.1016/j.tim.2018.03.004.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-29D2-4
Abstract
Endosymbionts are organisms that live inside the cells of other species. This lifestyle is ubiquitous across the tree of life and is featured by unicellular eukaryotes, prokaryotes, and by extrachromosomal genetic elements such as plasmids. Given that all of these elements dwell in the cytoplasm of their host cell, they should be subject to similar selection pressures. Here we show that strikingly similar features have evolved in both bacterial endosymbionts and plasmids. Since host and endosymbiont are often metabolically tightly intertwined, they are difficult to disentangle experimentally. We propose that using plasmids as tractable model systems can help to solve this problem, thus allowing fundamental questions to be experimentally addressed about the ecology and evolution of endosymbiotic interactions.