Evolution of the couple cytochrome c and cytochrome c oxidase in primates
Mitochondrial energy metabolism has been affected by a broad set of ancient and recent evolutionary events. The oldest example is the endosymbiosis theory that led to mitochondria and a recently proposed example is adaptation to cold climate by anatomically modern human lineages. Mitochondrial energy metabolism has also been associated with an important area in anthropology and evolutionary biology, brain enlargement in human evolution. Indeed, several studies have pointed to the need for a major metabolic rearrangement to supply a sufficient amount of energy for brain development in primates.The genes encoding for the coupled cytochrome c (Cyt c) and cytochrome c oxidase (COX, complex IV, EC 220.127.116.11) seem to have an exceptional pattern of evolution in the anthropoid lineage. It has been proposed that this evolution was linked to the rearrangement of energy metabolism needed for brain enlargement. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the COX enzyme was proposed to have a large role in control of the respiratory chain and thereby global energy production.After summarizing major events that occurred during the evolution of COX and cytochrome c on the primate lineage, we review the different evolutionary forces that could have influenced primate COX evolution and discuss the probable causes and consequences of this evolution. Finally, we discuss and review the co-occurring primate phenotypic evolution.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;748:185-213. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-3573-0_8.