Preaxostyla, living exclusively in oxygen-depleted environments, are one of the least studied protist lineages. We believe these organisms can give us priceless insights into the reductive evolution of mitochondria. Paratrimastix pyriformis belongs to a basal assemblage of free-living Preaxostyla, formerly grouped under a single genus "Trimastix". We study the reduced mitochondrion of Paratrimastix in order to expose the physiological role of the organelle. Our second organisms of interest are oxymonads, which are all living inside guts of various animals and are the largest known group of eukaryotes without any evidence of mitochondrion or related structures. Our investigation of genus Monocercomonoides is focused on the intriguing possibility that this organism indeed completely lost the mitochondrion, a cellular structure that has been long thought to be essential for all eukaryotic organisms.
In our lab we focus on:
- transcriptomics and genomics of Paratrimastix and Monocercomonoides
- cellular localization of potentially mitochondrial proteins
- metabolism connected with anaerobiosis and the putative loss of mitochondrion
- iron-sulfur clusters assembly pathways
- diversity of oxymonads