Mistletoe is a hemiparasite plant that latches onto trees, removing water and nutrients out of it. Hemiparasite is a parasitic plant that derives some nutrients from other plants and is capable of photosynthesis. Studies have shown that mistletoe parasitic plant has led to other species an evolutionary loss. While mistletoe lacks cellular machinery in the important component where other organisms are reliable in converting glucose into energy-carrying molecule ATP.
It was being observed long back the loss of respiratory capacity in unicellular eukaryotes that leads to parasitic or symbolic lifestyle, as per Etienne Meyer from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Germany. In addition, it’s the first case that has been reported related to multicellular eukaryote where most of the respiratory capacity being lost.
Possibilities of life without mitochondrial complex I in multicellular eukaryotes still remains unknown as per Hans-Peter Braun of Leibniz Universitat Hannover, Germany. Recently studies recommended the mitochondria genomes of the Viscum species present within the cellular powerhouse has lost genes encoding complex I subunits, that has been the first among the multicellular eukaryotes. Provided no such precise proof about mistletoe that lacked the complex, might be genes encoding complex I have been transferred through mitochondria into the nuclear genome.
However, the team of Braun’s demos a biochemical proof related to mitochondria of European mistletoe lacks completely with complex I, thereby reducing the amounts of complex II and V simultaneously. Besides complexes III and IV form that has been referred to as “remarkable stable respiratory supercomplexes”, resulting changes in the plant’s entire respiratory chain.
Might be this adaptation towards the parasitic lifestyle have the chances of saving the plant, the energy that is required to accumulate these mitochondria complexes. More investigation is required to see whether mitochondria of other parasitic plants species reduced the respiratory capacity that actually relates to mistletoe.