Data from: Microbial eukaryotes have adapted to hypoxia by horizontal acquisitions of a gene involved in rhodoquinone biosynthesis
Stairs, Courtney W. et al. (2019), Data from: Microbial eukaryotes have adapted to hypoxia by horizontal acquisitions of a gene involved in rhodoquinone biosynthesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qp745
Under hypoxic conditions, some organisms use an electron transport chain consisting of only complex I and II (CII) to generate the proton gradient essential for ATP production. In these cases, CII functions as a fumarate reductase that accepts electrons from a low electron potential quinol, rhodoquinol (RQ). To clarify the origins of RQ-mediated fumarate reduction in eukaryotes, we investigated the origin and function of rqua, a gene encoding an RQ biosynthetic enzyme. Rqua is very patchily distributed across eukaryotes and bacteria adapted to hypoxia. Phylogenetic analyses suggest lateral gene transfer (LGT) of rqua from bacteria to eukaryotes occurred at least twice and the gene was transferred multiple times amongst protists. We demonstrate that RQUA functions in the mitochondrion-related organelles of the anaerobic protist Pygsuia and is correlated with the presence of RQ. These analyses reveal the role of gene transfer in the evolutionary remodeling of mitochondria in adaptation to hypoxia.