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 August 1, 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 August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) 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