Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protocells may have formed in a salty soup

Date:
July 2, 2013
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
The first cell may have originated in a salty soup in which large biomolecules cluster spontaneously to form a protocell, chemists in the Netherlands have discovered.

Artist's illustration of cells (stock image).
Credit: Jezper / Fotolia

The first cell may have originated in a salty soup in which large biomolecules cluster spontaneously to form a protocell, chemists at Radboud University Nijmegen discovered.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How did the first cell originate in evolution? It is a chicken or the egg causality dilemma: a cell doesn't function without a cell wall, but how does the cell wall form if there is no cell? Research by chemist Wilhelm Huck, professor at Radboud University Nijmegen, suggests that the cell came first.

In a solution containing the biomolecules that are normally locked in a cell (like DNA, RNA, enzymes, proteins) these large biomolecules clustered together spontaneously when the salt concentration was increased. This indicates that a cell wall is not a prerequisite for a cell-like structure .

Huck thinks the macro molecules in our cells evolved to do their work while packed closely together. By using tiny droplets, he explores how this works exactly. "When biomolecules are packed together, we expect reactions to proceed much faster. They perform their chemistry much more efficiently. In this study, we measure a fifty-fold increase in the DNA transcription rate."

A working cell is more than the sum of its parts. "A functioning cell must be entirely correct at once, in all its complexity," said Huck. "We are now closer to building a synthetic cell than anyone ever before us."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radboud University Nijmegen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. Sokolova, E. Spruijt, M. M. K. Hansen, E. Dubuc, J. Groen, V. Chokkalingam, A. Piruska, H. A. Heus, W. T. S. Huck. Enhanced transcription rates in membrane-free protocells formed by coacervation of cell lysate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222321110

Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Protocells may have formed in a salty soup." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100115.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2013, July 2). Protocells may have formed in a salty soup. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100115.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Protocells may have formed in a salty soup." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100115.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins