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Anammoxosome in Anaerobic Ammonium-oxidizing Bacteria – was It Originated from Endosymbiosis?

Yiguo Hong, Huiluo Cao, Meng Li, Ji-Dong Gu


The anammoxosome is a single membrane-bounded compartment with ATP-generation capability residing in the yet-to-be purely cultured anammox bacteria, which are responsible for the unique biochemical reaction called anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox). In this paper, a plausible mechanism for the origin of anammoxosome is proposed, in which anaerobic archaea with capability of metabolizing ammonium and nitrite are thought to gain advantages for survival with reciprocal metabolisms and eventually established as stable endosymbiont under the given environmental conditions by invading into a bacterial cell. Over the long-time specialization and lateral gene transfer during the endosymbiosis establishment, the original archaea might further devolve into the present anammoxosome inside the host to form the structure of anammox bacteria today. The cytological, biochemical and molecular evidences for this hypothesis are presented, along with suggestions for further possible experimental verifications. The evolutionary significance of this symbiotic hypothesis is also discussed.


Anammoxsome; origin and evolution; endosymbiosis; nitrogen cycle

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