Elementary Growth Modes provide a molecular description of cellular self-fabrication
A major aim of biology is to predict phenotype from genotype. Here we ask if we can describe all possible molecular states (phenotypes) for a cell that fabricates itself at a constant rate, given its enzyme kinetics and the stoichiometry of all reactions (the genotype). For this, we must understand the autocatalytic process of cellular growth which is inherently nonlinear: steady-state self-fabrication requires a cell to synthesize all of its components, including metabolites, enzymes and ribosomes, in the proportions that exactly match its own composition -- the growth demand thus depends on the cellular composition. Simultaneously, the concentrations of these components should be tuned to accomplish this synthesis task -- the cellular composition thus depends on the growth demand. We here derive a theory that describes all phenotypes that solve this circular problem; the basic equations show how the concentrations of all cellular components and reaction rates must be balanced to get a constant self-fabrication rate. All phenotypes can be described as a combination of one or more minimal building blocks, which we call Elementary Growth Modes (EGMs). EGMs can be used as the theoretical basis for all models that explicitly model self-fabrication, such as the currently popular Metabolism and Expression models. We then used our theory to make concrete biological predictions: we find that natural selection for maximal growth rate drives microorganisms to states of minimal phenotypic complexity: only one EGM will be active when cellular growth rate is maximised. The phenotype of a cell is only extended with one more EGM whenever growth becomes limited by an additional biophysical constraint, such as a limited solvent capacity of a cellular compartment. Our theory starts from basic biochemical and evolutionary considerations, and describes unicellular life, both in growth-promoting and in stress-inducing environments, in terms of EGMs, the universal building blocks of self-fabrication and a cell's phenotype.
- Downloaded 502 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 54,818
- In systems biology: 1,276
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 120,767
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 122,360
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!