Cells' Innards May Share Origin

Science News, December 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

Cells' Innards May Share Origin


Despite their outward differences, many of the organelles within cells may have a common evolutionary heritage.

In a ease of scientific serendipity, data gathered by separate research teams working on various organelles lend new support to the theory that a simpler cellular compartment gave rise to the organelles' diverse modern forms.

"We all had been looking at specific organelles, but sitting there [at the conference] listening to the other scientists speak, there seemed to be something common in all of them,' says Damien Devos of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.

Several research groups had been studying proteins that guide the movements and interactions of organelles such as the Golgi apparatus, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the nucleus.

"The data are contradictory if you look at one protein at a time,' says Joel B. Dacks of the University of Cambridge in England. "But if you look at them together, it fits."

Each protein on an organelle has evolved at a different rate, so each tells a different story about how long ago that organelle might have diverged from an ancient, simpler organelle and begun developing unique functions. …

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