A new model of metabolism draws from thermodynamics and ‘omics’

Vassily Hatzimanikatis | Via EurekAlert | January 13, 2020

All living things are made of carbon, and sugars, e.g. glucose, are a very common source of it. Consequently, most cells are good at eating sugars, using enzymes to digest them through a series of chemical reactions that transform the initial sugar into a variety of cell components, including amino acids, DNA building blocks, and fats. Because they help these sugar-metabolism reactions run efficiently, the enzymes called biocatalysts.

Given how critical all enzymes are to life itself, scientists have built several mathematical models that describe how the cells use enzymes to transform a sugar. Such models have been successfully used, for instance, to improve 2nd generation biofuel production or identify drug targets for malaria, but they don’t take into account the metabolic “cost” of producing the enzymes that catalyze all these chemical reactions… Continue reading.