What the metabolism reveals about the origin of life

Kiel botanist proposes new theory for the simultaneous evolution of opposing metabolic processes

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This classical ‘chicken-or-egg’ dilemma applies in particular to the developmental processes of life on earth. The basis of evolution was a gradual transition from purely chemical reactions towards the ability of the first life forms to convert carbon via metabolic processes, with the help of enzymes. In this transition, early life forms soon developed different strategies for energy production and matter conversion. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

How Plants Form Their Sugar Transport Routes

In experiments on transport tissues in plants, researchers from Heidelberg University were able to identify factors of crucial importance for the formation of the plant tissue known as phloem. According to Prof. Dr Thomas Greb of the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS), these factors differ from all previously known factors that trigger the specification of cells. The findings of the Heidelberg researchers substantially expand our understanding of the metabolic processes in plants. Their results were published in the journal „Current Biology“. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Cancer: Molecularly shutting down cancer cachexia

Healthy fat tissue is essential for extended survival in the event of tumor-induced wasting syndrome (cachexia). Researchers have shown that selective manipulation of an enzyme can stop unwanted metabolic processes. (Mehr in: Cancer News — ScienceDaily)

What makes a small worm a popular model

Researchers from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Kiel University have compiled all metabolic pathways of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans described so far and have presented a comprehensive metabolic model in the current edition of the journal „Cell Systems“. The model, called „ElegCyc“, covers about 2,000 metabolic processes and is available to research groups all over the world. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Lung tumors hijack metabolic processes in the liver, study finds

Scientists who study how circadian rhythms — our own body clocks — control liver function have discovered that cancerous lung tumors can hijack this process and profoundly alter metabolism. Their research is the first showing that lung adenocarcinoma can affect the body clock’s sway over lipid metabolism and sensitivity to insulin and glucose. (Mehr in: Cancer News — ScienceDaily)

Implications of quantum metabolism and natural selection for the origin of cancer cells and tumor progression

Energy transfer in material solids is driven primarily by differences in intensive thermodynamic quantities such as pressure and temperature. The crucial observation  in quantum-theoretical models was the consideration of the heat capacity as associated with the vibrations of atoms in a crystalline solid. However, living organisms are essentially isothermal. Because of very little differences in temperature between different parts of a cell it is assumed that energy flow in living organisms is mediated by differences in the turnover time of various metabolic processes in the cell, which occur in cyclical fashion. It has been shown that the cycle time of these metabolic processes is related to the metabolic rate, that is the rate at which the organism transforms the free energy of whatever source into metabolic work, maintenance of constant temperature and structuraland functional organization of the cells. Quantum Metabolism exploits the methodology of the quantum theory of solids to provide a molecular level which derives new rules relating metabolic rate and body size.

Davies P, Lloyd A, Demetrius LA, Tuszynski, JA (2012) Implications of quantum metabolism and natural selection for the origin of cancer cells and tumor progression. Citation: AIP Advances 2, 011101 (2012); doi: 10.1063/1.3697850

Einstein A (1920), Schallausbreitung in teilweise dissozieirten Gasen

Einstein A (1924) Quantentheorie des einatomigen, idealen Gases