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Why the Lipid Divide? Membrane Proteins as Drivers of the Split between the Lipids of the Three Domains of Life.

08:00 EDT 10th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Why the Lipid Divide? Membrane Proteins as Drivers of the Split between the Lipids of the Three Domains of Life."

Recent results from engineered and natural samples show that the starkly different lipids of archaea and bacteria can form stable hybrid membranes. But if the two types can mix, why don't they? That is, why do most bacteria and all eukaryotes have only typically bacterial lipids, and archaea archaeal lipids? It is suggested here that the reason may lie on the other main component of cellular membranes: membrane proteins, and their close adaptation to the lipids. Archaeal lipids in modern bacteria could suggest that the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) had both lipid types. However, this would imply a rather elaborate evolutionary scenario, while negating simpler alternatives. In light of widespread horizontal gene transfer across the prokaryotic domains, hybrid membranes reveal that the lipid divide did not just occur once at the divergence of archaea and bacteria from LUCA. Instead, it continues to occur actively to this day.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
ISSN: 1521-1878
Pages: e1800251

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