Coatomer in the universe of cellular complexity

Mark C. Field (Lead / Corresponding author), Michael P. Rout (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Eukaryotic cells possess considerable internal complexity, differentiating them from prokaryotes. Eukaryogenesis, an evolutionary transitional period culminating in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA), marked the origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system. LECA is reconstructed as possessing intracellular complexity akin to modern eukaryotes. Construction of endomembrane compartments involved three key gene families: coatomer, BAR-domain proteins, and ESCRT. Each has a distinct evolutionary origin, but of these coatomer and BAR proteins are eukaryote specific, while ESCRT has more ancient origins. We discuss the structural motifs defining these three membrane-coating complexes and suggest that compared with BAR and ESCRT, the coatomer architecture had a unique ability to be readily and considerably modified, unlocking functional diversity and enabling the development of the eukaryotic cell.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpe8
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number14
Early online date18 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


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