Modeling cell energetics

Andrea de Martino

Cells live in contexts with limited resources, and evolution has selected mechanisms that allow them to accomplish the tasks  essential for life by making optimal use of these resources. This idea spans from one extreme of complexity of the cellular world (bacteria) to another (cancer cells), and is, in essence, the basis of constraint-based modeling, possibly the most successful approach for unraveling cell energetics. Recent work aimed at correlating energetics with regulatory properties has brought to light a number of crucial facts that are not explained by current theories. To make progress and understand whether evolution has found optimal solutions requires us to dig deeper into the space of possible states of the cell’s metabolic networks, and into the nature of the constraints that define it. We shall see how important hints derived from physical and regulatory considerations lead to entirely new classes of models, bearing a high potential for shedding light on the emergence of robust `growth laws’ as well as for applications.

This is also based on very recent work of mine (basically, it’s my other main topic of research besides RNA metabolism); it is also very suited for physicists and biological chemists. For references, see

Esta charla se llevará a cabo el día Miércoles 6 de Marzo a las 16hs en el aula Federman, 1er Piso, Pab. 1, Departamento de Física, Ciudad Universitaria.