Is LUCA a thermophilic progenote?

  title={Is LUCA a thermophilic progenote?},
  author={Johann Peter Gogarten and David Deamer},
  journal={Nature Microbiology},
To the Editor — We wish to comment on several claims made in the paper by Weiss et al.1, which describes a genomic analysis that they believe is consistent with the origin of life and emergence of a progenote-like last universal common ancestor (LUCA) in hydrothermal vent conditions. The hydrothermal vent concept was proposed by researchers in the 1980s as an ocean would have been the dominant aqueous medium on the early Earth. Most would also agree that life could not begin in the open ocean… 

Was LUCA a Hyperthermophilic Prokaryote? The Impact-Bottleneck Hypothesis Revisited

It is suggested that current evidence on the nature of LUCA and its immediate predecessors are compatible with the impact-bottleneck hypothesis – the proposal that during the early evolution of life, a meteoritic impact eliminated all life on Earth except for prokaryotes capable of living at high temperatures.

Ancient Living Organisms Escaping from, or Imprisoned in, the Vents?

It is concluded that ancient organisms utilising a natural pH gradient would have been imprisoned in the vents, unable to escape and become free-living.

Proton gradients at the origin of life

  • N. Lane
  • Biology
    BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
  • 2017
A counterpoint is intended to set the record straight after a paper by Baz Jackson concluded that natural pH gradients were unlikely to have played any role in the origin of life.

Gaia and her microbiome.

  • J. Stolz
  • Physics, Geology
    FEMS microbiology ecology
  • 2017
The discoveries of conductive pili and cable bacteria have demonstrated that microbes transfer electrons to and from external sources, sometimes over significant distances, while research on quorum sensing and the plethora of microbial volatile organic substances have provided new insights into how microbes communicate, expanding understanding how Gaia could actually work.

Environmental boundary conditions for the origin of life converge to an organo-sulfur metabolism

Using network-based analysis, the authors infer an organo-sulfur proto-metabolic network fuelled by a thioester- and redox-driven variant of the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle that was capable of producing lipids and keto acids.

The Landscape of the Emergence of Life

This paper reports on the various nuances of the origins of life on Earth and highlights the latest findings in that arena as reported at the Network of Researchers on Horizontal Gene Transfer and

The Origin(s) of Cell(s): Pre-Darwinian Evolution from FUCAs to LUCA

It is argued that vesicles’ acquisition and merger, via breaking-and-repacking, proto-endocytosis, proto -endosymbiosis, and other similar processes had been a central force of both variation and selection in the pre-Darwinian epoch.

Boundary conditions for early life converge to an organo-sulfur metabolism

A steady-state dynamical metabolic model of a proto-cell is built, and it is found that different combinations of carbon sources and electron acceptors can support the continuous production of a minimal ancient “biomass” composed of putative early biopolymers and fatty acids.

Phenotypic reconstruction of the last universal common ancestor reveals a complex cell

The results depict LUCA as a far more complex cell than has previously been proposed, challenging the evolutionary model of increased complexity through time in prokaryotes and suggesting that early life very rapidly evolved considerable cellular complexity.

Is it possible that cells have had more than one origin?

It is argued that some evidences used to support cell monophyly actually indicate a unique origin for all "biological systems", a term used to define not only cells, but also viruses and progenotes.



Parallel adaptations to high temperatures in the Archaean eon

It is shown that both rRNA and protein sequences analysed with advanced, realistic models of molecular evolution provide independent support for two environmental-temperature-related phases during the evolutionary history of the tree of life.

On the origins of cells: a hypothesis for the evolutionary transitions from abiotic geochemistry to chemoautotrophic prokaryotes, and from prokaryotes to nucleated cells.

  • W. MartinM. Russell
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 2003
The universal ancestor the authors infer was not a free-living cell, but rather was confined to the naturally chemiosmotic, FeS compartments within which the synthesis of its constituents occurred, leading to the emergence of prokaryotic lineages from inorganic confines.

Natural pH Gradients in Hydrothermal Alkali Vents Were Unlikely to Have Played a Role in the Origin of Life

  • J. Jackson
  • Biology
    Journal of Molecular Evolution
  • 2016
Arguments raised in this review suggest that natural pH gradients are unlikely to have played a part in life’s origin, and alternative hypotheses for the evolution of chemiosmotic systems following the emergence of error-prone gene replication and translation are more likely to be correct.

LUCApedia: a database for the study of ancient life

LUCApedia is presented, a unified framework for simultaneously evaluating multiple data sets related to the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) and its predecessors and may be used to rapidly acquire evidence that a certain gene or set of genes is ancient, to examine the early evolution of metabolic pathways, or to test specific hypotheses related to ancient life by corroborating them against the rest of the database.

Energy at life's origin

Analysis of the bioenergetics of primitive organisms suggests that life began at hydrothermal vents, and bioenergetic reactions have been running in a sequence of uninterrupted continuity since the first prokaryotes arose on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.

Evolution of proton pumping ATPases: Rooting the tree of life

A correlation between structure and function of ATPases has been established and the location of the last common ancestor of the major domains of living organisms (archaebacteria, eubacteria and eukaryotes) can be located in the tree of life without assuming constant or equal rates of change in the different branches.

The concept of cellular evolution

It is argued on the basis of differences between their respective translation mechanisms that the two lines do represent separate phylogenetic trees in the sense that each line of descent independently evolved to a level of organization that could be called procaryotic.

Biased gene transfer in microbial evolution

There is evidence that prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) are more likely to transfer genetic material with their close relatives than with distantly related lineages, which can create phylogenetic signals that are difficult to distinguish from the signal created through shared ancestry.

Highways of gene sharing in prokaryotes.

A rigorous phylogenetic analysis of >220,000 proteins from genomes of 144 prokaryotes suggests a pattern of inheritance that is largely vertical, but with notable exceptions among closely related taxa and among distantly related organisms that live in similar environments.