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Reciprocally-Coupled Gating: Strange Loops in Bioenergetics, Genetics, and Catalysis

1
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7260, USA
2
Department of Physics and Te Ao Marama Centre for Fundamental Inquiry, University of Auckland, PB 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomolecules 2021, 11(2), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11020265
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 4 February 2021 / Accepted: 6 February 2021 / Published: 11 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
Bioenergetics, genetic coding, and catalysis are all difficult to imagine emerging without pre-existing historical context. That context is often posed as a “Chicken and Egg” problem; its resolution is concisely described by de Grasse Tyson: “The egg was laid by a bird that was not a chicken”. The concision and generality of that answer furnish no details—only an appropriate framework from which to examine detailed paradigms that might illuminate paradoxes underlying these three life-defining biomolecular processes. We examine experimental aspects here of five examples that all conform to the same paradigm. In each example, a paradox is resolved by coupling “if, and only if” conditions for reciprocal transitions between levels, such that the consequent of the first test is the antecedent for the second. Each condition thus restricts fluxes through, or “gates” the other. Reciprocally-coupled gating, in which two gated processes constrain one another, is self-referential, hence maps onto the formal structure of “strange loops”. That mapping uncovers two different kinds of forces that may help unite the axioms underlying three phenomena that distinguish biology from chemistry. As a physical analog for Gödel’s logic, biomolecular strange-loops provide a natural metaphor around which to organize a large body of experimental data, linking biology to information, free energy, and the second law of thermodynamics. View Full-Text
Keywords: genetic coding; free energy transduction; non-equilibrium thermodynamics; transition-state stabilization; conformational change; aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases; catalytically active molten globules; emergent phenomena genetic coding; free energy transduction; non-equilibrium thermodynamics; transition-state stabilization; conformational change; aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases; catalytically active molten globules; emergent phenomena
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carter, C.W., Jr.; Wills, P.R. Reciprocally-Coupled Gating: Strange Loops in Bioenergetics, Genetics, and Catalysis. Biomolecules 2021, 11, 265. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11020265

AMA Style

Carter CW Jr., Wills PR. Reciprocally-Coupled Gating: Strange Loops in Bioenergetics, Genetics, and Catalysis. Biomolecules. 2021; 11(2):265. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11020265

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carter, Charles W., Jr., and Peter R. Wills. 2021. "Reciprocally-Coupled Gating: Strange Loops in Bioenergetics, Genetics, and Catalysis" Biomolecules 11, no. 2: 265. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11020265

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