Causes and consequences of eukaryotization through mutualistic endosymbiosis and compartmentalization

Acta Biotheoretica 52 (2) (2004)
Abstract
This paper reviews and extends ideas of eukaryotization by endosymbiosis. These ideas are put within an historical context of processes that may have led up to eukaryotization and those that seem to have resulted from this process. Our starting point for considering the emergence and development of life as an organized system of chemical reactions should in the first place be in accordance with thermodynamic principles and hence should, as far as possible, be derived from these principles. One trend to be observed is the ever-increasing complexity resulting in several layers of compartmentalization of the reaction system, either spatial (of which the eukaryotic cell is an example), or functional (as in the gradually deepening distinction between metabolic, enzymatic and information-storing functions within the cell). One of the causes of this complexification of living systems will have been the changes in environmental conditions, particularly the geochemical impoverishment of the biosphere during geological history, partly brought about by living systems themselves, and partly by the trend towards increasing efficiency and specificity of the reactions that occur.
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