Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chromera velia: The Missing Link in the Evolution of Parasitism

2013;85:119-44. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407672-3.00004-6.

Chromera velia: The Missing Link in the Evolution of Parasitism


School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Since the pivotal publication announcing the discovery of Chromera velia in 2008, there has been a flurry of interest and research into this novel alga. Found by chance while studying the symbionts of corals in Australian reefs, C. velia has turned out to be a very important organism. It holds a unique position as the evolutionary intermediate between photosynthetic dinoflagellate algae and parasitic apicomplexans. Biological characterization has revealed similarities to both dinoflagellates and apicomplexans. Of particular interest is the photosynthetic plastid that is closely related to the apicomplexan apicoplast. This plastid in C. velia has a highly effective photosynthetic system with photoprotective properties such as nonphotochemical quenching. The apicoplast is essential for cell health and is therefore a potential drug target for the apicomplexans that cause malaria and other diseases. The tetrapyrrole, sterol, and galactolipid pathways have been explored in C. velia to find parallels with apicomplexans that could lead to new insights to fight these parasites. Ecologically, C. velia is very similar to dinoflagellates, reflecting their common ancestry and revealing how the ancestors of apicomplexans may have lived before they evolved to become parasitic.
© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Apicomplexa, Apicoplast, Biosynthesis, Chromera velia, Dinoflagellate, Photosynthesis, Plastid, Vitrella brassicaformis
[PubMed - in process]

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