Overview

Protista is where eukaryotic life began It was amongst unicellular eukaryotes (protists) that cell genomes developed packaging and compartmentalisation systems that enabled vast increases in size and complexity. It is where endosymbiotic organelles were gained and redefined the metabolism and capabilities of eukaryotes. And it is where the cytoskeleton was developed and elaborated to enable […]

Genome Evolution

chromatin without histones and genes without stops Eukaryotic nuclei define our difference from prokaryotes, and the use of histone proteins as DNA packing and genome regulation agents was a seminal invention. So profound was this innovation, that all eukaryotes continue to use it—all except dinoflagellates. We have shown that early in dinoflagellate evolution histones were […]

Organelles

A non-photosynthetic plastid in the malaria parasite (Plasmodium) in its blood cell host. Selected publications: Waller, R.F. et al (2016) Metabolic pathway redundancy within the apicomplexan-dinoflagellate radiation argues against an ancient chromalveolate plastid. Comm. Integrat. Biol. 9: e1116653 Gornik, S.G. et al (2015) Endosymbiosis undone by stepwise elimination of the plastid in a parasitic dinoflagellate. PNAS 112: […]

Cytoskeletons

Cytoskeleton as a Platform for Innovation The unifying cell structural feature of dinoflagellates, apicomplexans and ciliates is a system of flattened membrane sacs called alveoli immediately beneath the plasma membrane supported by a complex proteinaceous cytoskeleton. Hence the Infrakingdom name Alveolata. Little was know of the molecular basis of this common pellicular structure, yet through […]

Diversity

Eukaryotic Diversity In addition to targeted investigations of key processes in cell function and evolution, the Waller lab has broad interests in exploring and describing diversity in eukaryotes. These have included: describing new taxa; resolving the relationships amongst eukaryotic lineages using molecular phylogenetics; understanding the role of lateral gene transfer in gain and transmission of function; […]