William F. Martin (University of Düsseldorf)

The event will start on: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 | 12:00 pm
Location: Guyot Hall, 10 | Washington Road

MolBio Seminar Series

bill martinWilliam F. Martin
institute of molecular evolution, University of Düsseldorf

Bill grew up in the US and moved to Germany in 1980. He majored in Botany at the University of Hannover, graduated there in 1985 and finished his Ph.D. thesis in 1988 at the Max-Planck-Institute in Cologne under Heinz Saedler on molecular genetics and plant evolution. In 1989 he moved to Rüdiger Cerff's group at the Institute of Genetics of the University of Braunschweig to work on molecular evolution and endosymbiosis. In 1999 he received an appointment as professor of Botany at the University of Düsseldorf. His main scientific interests are endosymbiosis, anaerobic mitochondria, and early evolution.

Seminar Topic

The early evolution of membrane bioenergetics

The presence and function of mitochondria in eukaryotes that inhabit anaerobic environments was long a biochemical and evolutionary puzzle. Major insights into the phylogenetic distribution, biochemistry, and evolutionary significance of organelles involved in ATP synthesis (energy metabolism) in eukaryotes that thrive in anaerobic environments for all or part of their life cycle have accrued in recent years. Underpinned by many exciting advances, two central themes of that progress have unfolded. First, the finding that all known eukaryotic groups possess an organelle of mitochondrial origin has mapped the origin of mitochondria to the origin of known eukaryotic groups. Second, the phylogeny of eukaryotic aerobes and anaerobes has been found to interleave across the diversity of eukaryotic groups, erasing what once was thought to be a major evolutionary divide between eukaryotic aerobes and their  anaerobic relatives. Data from gene, genome, and environmental sequencing projects are rapidly accumulating for eukaryotes that live in anaerobic habitats, giving clues as to what genes they possess or express. However, only for comparatively few organisms are specific biochemical data available concerning the enzymes and pathways that are actually used by the organisms, and the metabolic end products that are excreted by them in their anaerobic habitats. Similarly, the biochemical role that their organelles play in ATP synthesis is known in comparatively few well studied species. Based on those case studies, the talk will focus on the enzymes, pathways and end products of core ATP synthesis in eukaryotic anaerobes, including metazoans, and the participation of their mitochondria therein.

Further reading

Lane N, Martin WF (2012) The Origin of Membrane Bioenergetics.  Cell 151: 1406-1416

Müller M, Mentel M, van Hellemond J, Henze K, Woehle C, Gould SB, Yu R-Y, van der Giezen M, Tielens AGM, Martin WF (2012) Biochemistry and evolution of anaerobic energy metabolism in eukaryotes. Microbiol Mol. Biol Rev. 76:444-495.

Tielens AGM, van Grinsven K, Henze K, van Hellemond J, Martin W (2010) Acetate formation in the energy metabolism parasitic helminths and protists. Int. J. Parasitol. 40:387-397.

Mentel M, Martin W (2008) Energy metabolism among eukaryotic anaerobes in light of Proterozoic ocean chemistry. Phil. Trans Roy. Soc. Lond. B 363:2717-2729.

Embley TM, Martin W (2006) Eukaryote evolution: changes and challenges. Nature 440:623-630.

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