The physiology and habitat of the last universal common ancestor

  title={The physiology and habitat of the last universal common ancestor},
  author={Madeline C Weiss and Filipa L. Sousa and Natalia Mrnjavac and Sinje Neukirchen and Mayo Roettger and Shijulal Nelson-Sathi and William F. Martin},
  journal={Nature Microbiology},
The concept of a last universal common ancestor of all cells (LUCA, or the progenote) is central to the study of early evolution and life's origin, yet information about how and where LUCA lived is lacking. [] Key Method We investigated all clusters and phylogenetic trees for 6.1 million protein coding genes from sequenced prokaryotic genomes in order to reconstruct the microbial ecology of LUCA. Among 286,514 protein clusters, we identified 355 protein families (∼0.1%) that trace to LUCA by phylogenetic…
The metabolic network of the last bacterial common ancestor
Analysis of thousands of individual gene trees indicate that LBCA was rod-shaped and the first lineage to diverge from the ancestral bacterial stem was most similar to modern Clostridia, followed by other autotrophs that harbor the acetyl-CoA pathway.
Physiology, phylogeny, and the energetic roots of life
If the authors want a fuller picture of microbial evolution, they will have to incorporate aspects of physiology, phylogeny, and the geological record, and non-fermentative substrate level phosphorylations as they occur in some acetogens and methanogens now look like good candidate reactions for that starting point, helping to put chemical roots on life's tree.
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.
A New Analysis of Archaea–Bacteria Domain Separation: Variable Phylogenetic Distance and the Tempo of Early Evolution
Results provide a new view of protein family evolution and temper claims about the phenotype and habitat of the LUCA.
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.
The First Universal Common Ancestor (FUCA) as the Earliest Ancestor of LUCA’s (Last UCA) Lineage
The emergence of this process shared by all biological systems as a point of interest is proposed and the existence of this pre-cellular entity named FUCA, as the First Universal Common Ancestor is proposed.
The Evolution of Reverse Gyrase Suggests a Nonhyperthermophilic Last Universal Common Ancestor
An exhaustive search for Reverse gyrase proteins is carried out, suggesting a nonhyperthermophilic LUCA and bacterial ancestor, with hyperthernophily emerging early in the evolution of the archaeal and bacterial domains.
The LUCA and its complex virome
The last universal cellular ancestor (LUCA) is the most recent population of organisms from which all cellular life on Earth descends. The reconstruction of the genome and phenotype of the LUCA is a
The Common Ancestor of All Modern Life
It is suggested that the universal ancestor was a thermophile or hyperthermophile that thrived at a very high temperature and surrounded by a cell membrane similar to those found in modern bacteria and eukaryotes.


The two-domain tree of life is linked to a new root for the Archaea
The results robustly indicate a sister relationship of eukaryotes with the TACK superphylum that is strongly associated with a distinct root of the Archaea that lies within the Euryarchaeota, challenging the traditional topology of the archaeal tree.
On the Origin of Heterotrophy.
Origins of major archaeal clades correspond to gene acquisitions from bacteria
To investigate the origin of higher taxa in archaea, gene distributions and gene phylogenies for the 267,568 protein-coding genes of 134 sequenced archaeal genomes are determined in the context of their homologues from 1,847 reference bacterial genomes.
Comparative genomics, minimal gene-sets and the last universal common ancestor
  • E. Koonin
  • Biology
    Nature Reviews Microbiology
  • 2003
The present estimate suggests a simple last universal common ancestor with only 500–600 genes, based on the principle of evolutionary parsimony, is suggested.
The stepwise evolution of early life driven by energy conservation.
It is proposed that energy conservation played the predominant role in the later evolution of anaerobic metabolisms which explains the origin and evolution of extant methanogenic pathways.
Evolution of the Structure of Ferredoxin Based on Living Relics of Primitive Amino Acid Sequences
The structure of present-day ferredoxin, with its simple, inorganic active site and its functions basic to photon-energy utilization, suggests the incorporation of its prototype into metabolism very
Phylogenomic reconstruction of archaeal fatty acid metabolism.
The presence in archaea of the genes for energy-transducing membrane enzyme complexes was found to correlate with the presence of the proposed system of fatty acid biosynthesis, and it is speculated that these membrane complexes functionally depend on fatty acid chains.
The universal ancestor.
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  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1998
The universal phylogenetic tree is not an organismal tree at its base but gradually becomes one as its peripheral branchings emerge as the universal ancestor of all extant life is presented.
On the origin of biochemistry at an alkaline hydrothermal vent
  • W. Martin, M. Russell
  • Biology, Chemistry
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2006
Thermodynamic considerations related to formyl pterin synthesis suggest that the ability to harness a naturally pre-existing proton gradient at the vent–ocean interface via an ATPase is older than the able to generate a protongradient with chemistry that is specified by genes.