Lynn Margulis

Distinguished University Professor
Member, National Academy of Science

A.B., University of Chicago, 1957
M.S., University of Wisconsin, 1960
Ph.D., U. California, Berkeley, 1963

'77 Sherman Fairchild Fellow, California Institute of Technology
'79 Guggenheim Fellow
'83 Año sabãtico en España

Microbial Symbionts and Organelle Heredity

Work continues on the serial endosymbiotic theory, which posits the origin of cell organelles by hereditary symbiosis. Although it seems clear that plastids and mitochondria began as cyanobacteria and respiring bacteria respectively, the question remains of whether undulipodia (cilia and eukaryotic "flagella") originated from associations of spirochetes with Thermoplasma-like archaebacteria. We are investigating the possibility that axonemal proteins like tektins or tubulin are present in spirochetes and continue to work on our recent discoveries of the complex life history in a large composite spirochete, Spirosymplokus deltaeiberi. John Ashen (M.S., 1992) found Diplocalyx, a symbiont of Cryptotermes cavifrons to contain structures resembling microtubule organizing centers. Field and laboratory studies of live microbial mats which resemble prePhanerozoic stromatolitic cherts, in which the earliest fossils have been found, are also under way. Several microbes from the extant mats and their potential for preservation are under study, i.e. the ciliate Pseudo-cohnilembus. Procedures used include standard cytological, microbiological and isotope techniques, fluorescence and video microscopy, immunocytochemistry and gel electrophoresis.

Selected publications:

Margulis L, JO Corlis, M Melkonian and DJ Chapman, editors. 1990. Handbook of Protoctista: The structure, cultivation, habitats and life histories of eukaryotic microorganisms and descendants exclusive of animals, plant and fungi. Jones & Bartlett, Boston, 914pp.

Margulis L, L Olendzenski and BF Afzelius. 1990. Endospore-forming filamentous bacteria symbiotic in termites: ultrastructure and growth and growth in culture of Arthromitus. Symbiosis 8:95-116.

Margulis L and G Hinkle. 1992. Large symbiotic spirochetes: Clevelandina, Cristispira, Diplocalyx, Hollandina, and Pillotina. In The Prokaryotes, Handbook of the Biology of Bacteria, V.4 2nd ed. HG Barlows, MG Truper, M Dworkin, W Harder and KH Scheifer, eds. Springer Verlag, NY, pp3965-3978.

Margulis L. 1992. Biodiversity: Molecular biological domains, symbiosis and kingdom origins. Biosystems 27:39-51

Margulis L, L Olendzenski and HI McKhann. 1993. Illustrated Glossary of the Protoctista. Jones & Bartlett, Boston, (in press)

Margulis L, R Guerrero, JB Ashen and M Solé. Largest free-living spirochete found in microbial mats. Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci. USA (in press)

(Last revised August 1993)
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