About this Research Topic
A growing number of observations are rapidly expanding our understanding of cell architecture in Bacteria and Archaea, with profound implications for cell structure and function, and our understanding of the evolution of complex cells. Bacteria from the PVC superphylum have been discovered that possess complex internal membranes. Metagenomic data have revealed presence in archaea of ‘eukaryote-specific’ proteins (ESPs) normally associated with complex eukaryote cellular functions. Capacities such as endocytosis and phagocytosis previously thought to be exclusive to eukaryote systems have been characterized, and viruses have been discovered that compartmentalize genetic information into nucleus-like structures.
Our goal is to throw a spotlight on the surprising ways in which the traditional very simple model of ‘prokaryote’ cell architecture has been replaced by a more complex reality, and to consider how these complex cellular architectures relate to microbial function and evolution.
This research topic will provide a forum for communicating recent discoveries and considering how new findings will impact our understanding of the functioning and evolution of complex cellular architecture across the Bacteria and Archaea, including:
• Complex cell structure and morphology in Archaea, Bacteria, and during viral infection.
• Bacterial, archaeal and viral precursors to or analogs of eukaryotic cell structure.
• Roles of ‘Eukaryote-specific proteins’ in Archaea and bacterial homologs of eukaryote genes.
We welcome contributions from researchers working on these diverse and surprising systems.
Keywords: cell compartmentation, endocytosis, cell architecture, evolution, complexity
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