The Minimum Energy Required To Build A Cell

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
Scientific Reports
March 27, 2024
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The Minimum Energy Required To Build A Cell
Comparative analysis of minimum energetic costs for cellular synthesis across different organisms at different temperatures calculated using synercell. — Scientific Reports

Understanding the energy requirements for cell synthesis accurately and comprehensively has been a longstanding challenge. We introduce a computational model that estimates the minimum energy necessary to build any cell from its constituent parts.

This method combines omics and internal cell compositions from various sources to calculate the Gibbs Free Energy of biosynthesis independently of specific metabolic pathways. Our public tool, Synercell, can be used with other models for minumum species-specific energy estimations in any well-sequenced species.

The energy for synthesising the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and lipid bilayer of four cell types: Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an average mammalian cell and JCVI-syn3A were estimated. Their modelled minimum synthesis energies at 298 K were 9.54 x 10-11 J/cell, 4.99 x 10-0J/cell, 3.71 x 10-7 J/cell and respectively. Gram-for-gram synthesis of lipid bilayers requires the most energy, followed by the proteome, genome, and transcriptome.

The average per gram cost of biomass synthesis is in the 300s of J/g for all four cells. Implications for the generalisability of cell construction and applications to biogeosciences, cellular biology, biotechnology, and astrobiology are discussed.

The minimum energy required to build a cell, Scientific Reports (open access)

Scientific Reports ( IF 4.6 ) Pub Date: 2024-03-04 , DOI:10.1038/s41598-024-54303-6
Edwin Ortega-Arzola, Peter M. Higgins, Charles S. Cockell


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