Scientific reports. 2020-10-07; 10.1: 16687.

Common origin of ornithine-urea cycle in opisthokonts and stramenopiles

Horák A, Allen AE, Oborník M

PMID: 33028894


Eukaryotic complex phototrophs exhibit a colorful evolutionary history. At least three independent endosymbiotic events accompanied by the gene transfer from the endosymbiont to host assembled a complex genomic mosaic. Resulting patchwork may give rise to unique metabolic capabilities; on the other hand, it can also blur the reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships. The ornithine-urea cycle (OUC) belongs to the cornerstone of the metabolism of metazoans and, as found recently, also photosynthetic stramenopiles. We have analyzed the distribution and phylogenetic positions of genes encoding enzymes of the urea synthesis pathway in eukaryotes. We show here that metazoan and stramenopile OUC enzymes share common origins and that enzymes of the OUC found in primary algae (including plants) display different origins. The impact of this fact on the evolution of stramenopiles is discussed here.