Mitochondria and chloroplasts are now called organelles, but they used to be bacteria. As they transitioned from endosymbionts to organelles, they became more and more integrated into the biochemistry and cell biology of their hosts. Work over the last 15 years has shown that other symbioses show striking similarities to mitochondria and chloroplasts. In particular, many sap-feeding insects house intracellular bacteria that have genomes that overlap mitochondria and chloroplasts in terms of size and coding capacity. The massive levels of gene loss in some of these bacteria suggest that they, too, are becoming highly integrated with their host cells. Understanding these bacteria will require inspiration from eukaryotic cell biology, because a traditional microbiological framework is insufficient for understanding how they work.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology