Macroevolution of complex cytoskeletal systems in euglenids
Article first published online: 17 SEP 2007
Copyright © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 29, Issue 10, pages 987–1000, October 2007
How to Cite
Leander, B. S., Esson, H. J. and Breglia, S. A. (2007), Macroevolution of complex cytoskeletal systems in euglenids. Bioessays, 29: 987–1000. doi: 10.1002/bies.20645
- Issue published online: 17 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 17 SEP 2007
- National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Grant Number: NSERC 283091-04
- Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Evolutionary Biology and Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity
Euglenids comprise a group of single-celled eukaryotes with diverse modes of nutrition, including phagotrophy and photosynthesis. The level of morphological diversity present in this group provides an excellent system for demonstrating evolutionary transformations in morphological characters. This diversity also provides compelling evidence for major events in eukaryote evolution, such as the punctuated effects of secondary endosymbiosis and mutations in underlying developmental mechanisms. In this essay, we synthesize evidence for the origin, adaptive significance and diversification of the euglenid cytoskeleton, especially pellicle ultrastructure, pellicle surface patterns, pellicle strip number and the feeding apparatus. We also highlight holes in our knowledge that must be filled before we are able to confidently describe euglenid cell biology and infer the earliest stages in euglenid evolution. Nonetheless, by possessing combinations of characters resulting from adaptive change and morphostasis, euglenids have retained key pieces of evidence necessary for reconstructing the early evolution and diversification of eukaryotic life. BioEssays 29:987–1000, 2007. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.