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Thread: Evolutionary advantage of endosymbionts' double membrane?

  1. #1 Evolutionary advantage of endosymbionts' double membrane? 
    Forum Freshman GreatBigBore's Avatar
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    I've heard about the endosymbiont theory for mitochondria and chloroplasts, and possibly the cell nucleus. What evolutionary advantage would there be, after all these millions of years, for mitochondria et al to retain their double membrane?


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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Not really my area but why does it have to be an advantage, there could have just been no disadvantage that meant they needed to lose it...


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    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
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    I would think that since membranes are selectively permeable, the more layers, the more selective they are. You find membranes where ever you want to keep certain things in and certain things out. So, the answer to question must be, what needs to be kept in or out around mitochondria? Why do they require a special chemical milleu? PhDemon is probably correct in that some things remain that are not evolutionarily a disadvantage, but on the other hand, nature (evolution) doesn't often waste protein and energy on metabolically expensive structures that serve no purpose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBigBore View Post
    I've heard about the endosymbiont theory for mitochondria and chloroplasts, and possibly the cell nucleus. What evolutionary advantage would there be, after all these millions of years, for mitochondria et al to retain their double membrane?
    Are there any viruses that attack the mitochondria? if they don't that appears a very good reason to have a double membrane.

    It appears HIV can get inside mitochondria."Localization of HIV RNA in Mitochondria of Infected Cells: Potential Role in Cytopathogenicity" http://jcb.rupress.org/content/126/6/1353.full.pdf (I haven't got time to read it just now sorry.)
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    NOT the topic of the thread robbity and NOT appropriate if you have not even read it to be able to discuss it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    NOT the topic of the thread robbity and NOT appropriate if you have not even read it to be able to discuss it.
    OP
    What evolutionary advantage would there be, after all these millions of years, for mitochondria et al to retain their double membrane?
    So what exactly was wrong with the suggestion that the extra membranes could protect against viral attack of the mitochondria?
    So what do you think a reason could be? There is a question to be answered.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    There are several much more likely suggestions posted already. You merely posted a link to an article who's title you saw had keywords from your latest fixation.

    If you feel you have a viable suggestion then I ask you to post the direct evidence that supports your assertion.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    There are several much more likely suggestions posted already. You merely posted a link to an article who's title you saw had keywords from your latest fixation.

    If you feel you have a viable suggestion then I ask you to post the direct evidence that supports your assertion.
    I was genuinely in a rush at the time, so don't panic.
    I don't think I made any assertions but merely asked another question about whether the membranes around the mitochondria could serve to protect it from viral attack. I see the more I look into it there seems to be quite a battle going on between viruses and the cell's mitochondria. I can see an evolutionary advantage possible, that if mitochondria are living inside a cell, when the cell dies they die, so they have a vested interest to save the host cell from any virus attacking it.

    Mitochondrial localization of viral proteins as a means to subvert host defense
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...67488910002259


    7. Concluding remarks

    The relation between mitochondria in innate immune responses has been studied, until recently, mostly through the angle of host cell death/survival. This is indeed a crucial point, as the fate of infected cells critically impacts on the outcome of an infection at the level of a tissue or the whole organism. Moreover, because apoptosis and necrosis of infected cells result in dramatically different inflammatory responses in the tissue microenvironment, understanding how viruses regulate cell death pathways is of crucial importance. The fact that so many cases of viral manipulation of mitochondrial cell death pathways have been reported reinforces the concept that the control of these cell death cascades is essential for the physiopathology of a number of viruses. Yet, the pathways linking detection of viral infection by PRRs to mitochondria-mediated cell death remain poorly characterized. An interesting challenge for the years will be to characterize in detail how PRRs link viral detection to mitochondria-dependent cell death. Finally, mitochondria appear to control much more than cell death/survival following infection. This organelle seems to centralize a number of critical innate immune responses, as illustrated by the identification of MAVS as a mitochondrial protein, and understanding the reasons for such an interplay will undoubtedly represent an interesting field of investigation for the coming years.
    Last edited by Robittybob1; February 9th, 2014 at 02:56 AM.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Moderator Warning: Bob, you are at it again.

    1. Introducing one's own agenda driven posts into another post is thread hijacking. It is not tolerated. You are currently obsessed with the possible role of viruses in promoting evolution. Do not introduce comments that directly, or indirectly, implicitly, or explicitly address this concept in any thread other than the thread you currently have open on the topic.
    2. You will not, now or ever, cite a paper that you have not read. Ever. Try that again and you are gone permanently.
    3. You are, supposedly, an educated man. It should not be too difficult to understand the underlying ethos of the forum. Get with it now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Moderator Warning: Bob, you are at it again.

    1. Introducing one's own agenda driven posts into another post is thread hijacking. It is not tolerated. You are currently obsessed with the possible role of viruses in promoting evolution. Do not introduce comments that directly, or indirectly, implicitly, or explicitly address this concept in any thread other than the thread you currently have open on the topic.
    2. You will not, now or ever, cite a paper that you have not read. Ever. Try that again and you are gone permanently.
    3. You are, supposedly, an educated man. It should not be too difficult to understand the underlying ethos of the forum. Get with it now.
    I have no intention of hijacking this thread or any other thread and the thought of that is so unnecessary.
    The first paper was just the title so that is hardly citing it or is it? The second paper was read right through, a lot of it was well beyond me, but the gist of it was the important part.
    I'll leave it to the forum to draw their own conclusions for I certainly have a lot to learn about mitochondria. I look forward to the conclusion to the question posed.
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    I think "evolutionary advantage" is the wrong question to ask here when thinking about mitochondria. The membrane structure of the mitochondrion is tightly related to the function of that organelle. Since mitochondria are such important organelles I'd suggest that the evolutionary advantage is essentially that of being alive.

    You'd be better just asking: What is the function of the double membrane structure?

    In summary:


    1. The enzymes of the electron transport chain (among others) are embedded in the inner membrane.
    2. Protons are pumped in to the intermembrane space, creating a gradient.
    3. The controlled dissipation of said gradient is used to drive the synthesis of ATP.







    Chloroplasts, on the other hand, sometimes have multiple layers of membranes that seem to indicate secondary and tertiary rounds of endosymbiotic events. Why those still exist I couldn't comment upon, except to say it makes things quite complicated for the cell.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman GreatBigBore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    What is the function of the double membrane structure?
    ...

    2. Protons are pumped in to the intermembrane space, creating a gradient.
    This is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. Creating a gradient without interfering with the composition of the cytosol, and without being interfered with by the composition of the cytosol, makes a ton of sense--enough to satisfy my curiosity until I stumble across some journal article that addresses it in more detail. Thanks much!
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” -- Isaac Asimov
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    I have no intention of hijacking this thread or any other thread and the thought of that is so unnecessary.
    The first paper was just the title so that is hardly citing it or is it? The second paper was read right through, a lot of it was well beyond me, but the gist of it was the important part.
    I'll leave it to the forum to draw their own conclusions for I certainly have a lot to learn about mitochondria. I look forward to the conclusion to the question posed.
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  15. #14  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    I think "evolutionary advantage" is the wrong question to ask here when thinking about mitochondria.
    exactly - it's always dangerous ground to confuse current functionality with its original usage
    in short, mitochondria had certain characteristics that were useful to it as a stand-alone organism

    it just so happens that it became useful once it was part of a eukaryotic cell (and who knows, may even have been the reason why it survived inside the cell rather than being eaten)
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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