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Molecular Diversity and Network Complexity in Growing Protocells

1
Department of Basic Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan
2
Research Center for Complex Systems Biology, Universal Biology Institute, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Protobiology: Origin of Life by Mutually Catalytic Networks)
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Abstract

A great variety of molecular components is encapsulated in cells. Each of these components is replicated for cell reproduction. To address the essential role of the huge diversity of cellular components, we studied a model of protocells that convert resources into catalysts with the aid of a catalytic reaction network. As the resources were limited, the diversity in the intracellular components was found to be increased to allow the use of diverse resources for cellular growth. A scaling relation was demonstrated between resource abundances and molecular diversity. In the present study, we examined how the molecular species diversify and how complex catalytic reaction networks develop through an evolutionary course. At some generations, molecular species first appear as parasites that do not contribute to the replication of other molecules. Later, the species turn into host species that contribute to the replication of other species, with further diversification of molecular species. Thus, a complex joint network evolves with this successive increase in species. The present study sheds new light on the origin of molecular diversity and complex reaction networks at the primitive stage of a cell. View Full-Text
Keywords: protocells; diversity; mutually catalytic networks; resource limitation protocells; diversity; mutually catalytic networks; resource limitation
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Kamimura, A.; Kaneko, K. Molecular Diversity and Network Complexity in Growing Protocells. Life 2019, 9, 53.

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