A physical model of cell metabolism

Fernandez-de-Cossio-Diaz, J. and Vazquez Vazquez, A. (2018) A physical model of cell metabolism. Scientific Reports, 8, 8349. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26724-7) (PMID:29844352) (PMCID:PMC5974398)

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Cell metabolism is characterized by three fundamental energy demands: to sustain cell maintenance, to trigger aerobic fermentation and to achieve maximum metabolic rate. The transition to aerobic fermentation and the maximum metabolic rate are currently understood based on enzymatic cost constraints. Yet, we are lacking a theory explaining the maintenance energy demand. Here we report a physical model of cell metabolism that explains the origin of these three energy scales. Our key hypothesis is that the maintenance energy demand is rooted on the energy expended by molecular motors to fluidize the cytoplasm and counteract molecular crowding. Using this model and independent parameter estimates we make predictions for the three energy scales that are in quantitative agreement with experimental values. The model also recapitulates the dependencies of cell growth with extracellular osmolarity and temperature. This theory brings together biophysics and cell biology in a tractable model that can be applied to understand key principles of cell metabolism.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Tis work was supported by Cancer Research UK C596/A21140. Tis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme MSCA-RISE-2016 under grant agreement No. 734439 INFERNET.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vazquez, Alexei
Authors: Fernandez-de-Cossio-Diaz, J., and Vazquez Vazquez, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 8: 8349
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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