FRUSTRATION: PHYSICO-CHEMICAL PREREQUISITES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SYNTHETIC CELL

In Martin G. Hicks and Carsten Kettner (ed.), Proceedings of the International Beilstein Symposium on Systems Chemistry May 26th – 30th, 2008 Bozen, Italy. Beilstein Institute. pp. 1-19 (2008)
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Abstract
To construct a synthetic cell we need to understand the rules that permit life. A central idea in modern biology is that in addition to the four entities making reality, matter, energy, space and time, a fifth one, information, plays a central role. As a consequence of this central importance of the management of information, the bacterial cell is organised as a Turing machine, where the machine, with its compartments defining an inside and an outside and its metabolism, reads and expresses the genetic program carried by the genome. This highly abstract organisation is implemented using concrete objects and dynamics, and this is at the cost of repeated incompatibilities (frustration), which need to be sorted out by appropriate «patches». After describing the organisation of the genome into the paleome (sustaining and propagating life) and the cenome (permitting life in context), we describe some chemical hurdles that the cell as to cope with, ending with the specific case of the methionine salvage pathway
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