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Life 2014, 4(4), 586-597; doi:10.3390/life4040586

Compartmentalization and Cell Division through Molecular Discreteness and Crowding in a Catalytic Reaction Network

Department of Basic Science, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 September 2014 / Revised: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 22 October 2014 / Published: 29 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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Explanation of the emergence of primitive cellular structures from a set of chemical reactions is necessary to unveil the origin of life and to experimentally synthesize protocells. By simulating a cellular automaton model with a two-species hypercycle, we demonstrate the reproduction of a localized cluster; that is, a protocell with a growth-division process emerges when the replication and degradation speeds of one species are respectively slower than those of the other species, because of overcrowding of molecules as a natural outcome of the replication. The protocell exhibits synchrony between its division process and replication of the minority molecule. We discuss the effects of the crowding molecule on the formation of primitive structures. The generality of this result is demonstrated through the extension of our model to a hypercycle with three molecular species, where a localized layered structure of molecules continues to divide, triggered by the replication of a minority molecule at the center. View Full-Text
Keywords: protocells; compartment; catalytic reactions; minority control; crowding protocells; compartment; catalytic reactions; minority control; crowding

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kamimura, A.; Kaneko, K. Compartmentalization and Cell Division through Molecular Discreteness and Crowding in a Catalytic Reaction Network. Life 2014, 4, 586-597.

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