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 October 23, 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 October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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