Endosymbiosis pp 233-290 | Cite as

Tertiary Plastid Endosymbioses in Dinoflagellates

  • Przemysław Gagat
  • Andrzej Bodył
  • Paweł MackiewiczEmail author
  • John W. Stiller


Dinoflagellates are a peculiar group of protists with a surprising and varied history of plastid acquisition. They employ a variety of trophic strategies including photoautotrophy, heterotrophy, and mixotrophy, with multiple modes of food ingestion identified. This collection of features apparently preadapted dinoflagellates for acquisition of a bewildering array of photosynthetic bodies ranging from “stolen” plastids (or kleptoplastids) through permanent endosymbionts to true plastids, acquired in various primary, secondary, and tertiary endosymbioses. In this chapter, we focus on tertiary plastid endosymbioses (that is, uptake of an alga with a complex, secondary plastid), and especially on three that show distinct levels of host–endosymbiont integration. These endosymbiotic consortia are represented by (1) cryptophyte-derived kleptoplastids in Dinophysis species, (2) diatom endosymbionts in genera known as “dinotoms” (e.g., Kryptoperidinium and Durinskia), and (3) haptophyte-derived plastids in Karenia, Karlodinium, and Takayama. We discuss details of the structures, evolutionary origins, and processes involved in these varied endosymbioses, including feeding mechanisms, endosymbiotic gene transfer, and how nucleus-encoded proteins are targeted to each of these photosynthetic entities. Available data support previous predictions that all these photosynthetic bodies evolved via replacements of the peridinin plastid found in most photosynthetic dinoflagellates.


Plastid Genome Transit Peptide Envelope Membrane Plastid Protein Intergenic Transcribe Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Dr. P.J. Hansen for helpful comments. We also would like to thank Prof. W. Löffelhardt for inviting us to write this chapter and for his patience during its preparation. This work was supported by grant UMO-2011/01/N/NZ8/00150 to P. Gagat and P. Mackiewicz and Wrocław University grant 1069/S/KBEE/2012 to A. Bodył.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Przemysław Gagat
    • 1
  • Andrzej Bodył
    • 2
  • Paweł Mackiewicz
    • 1
    Email author
  • John W. Stiller
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Genomics, Faculty of BiotechnologyUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Evolutionary Protistology, Department of Evolutionary Biology and EcologyUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland
  3. 3.Department of BiologyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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