A marine parasites mitochondria lack DNA but still churn out energy

One parasite that feeds on algae is so voracious that it even stole its own mitochondrias DNA.

Mitochondria — the energy-generating parts of cells — of the parasitic plankton Amoebophyra ceratii seem to have transferred all of their DNA to the cells nucleus, researchers report April 24 in Science Advances. The discovery is the first time that scientists have found an oxygen-using organism with fully functional mitochondria that dont have any mitochondrial DNA. (Some anaerobic organisms, which dont need oxygen, and thus mitochondria, to survive, have also lost mitochondrial DNA.)

Mitochondria are thought to be bacteria that were captured by other cells and eventually became standard parts of eukaryotic cells — cells that encase their DNA and other parts in membranes. Mitochondria reside outside of the nucleus in a cells jellylike guts, the cytoplasm. Part of the settling-in process involved relocating some genes needed for mitochondrias function to the nucleus of host cells. But most mitochondria kept at least a few genes. (Human mitochondria held on to 37 genes.)

Not so for A. ceratii, Uwe John of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, and colleagues discovered. The parasite, which infects algae that can cause toxic blooms, has two mitochondria during the free-living stage of its life cycle. Both areRead More – Source
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