1. Rutgers Researchers Identify the Origins of Metabolism

    Life may have arisen near hydrothermal vents rich in iron and sulfur. The earliest cells incorporated these elements into small peptides, which became the first and simplest ferredoxins – proteins that shuttle electrons within the cell, to support metabolism. As cells evolved, ferredoxins mutated into more complex forms. The ferredoxins in modern bacteria, plant and animal cells are all derived from that simple ancestor. Credit: Ian Campbell, Rice University Image credit: None
    Life may have arisen near hydrothermal vents rich in iron and sulfur. The earliest cells incorporated these elements into small peptides, which became the first and simplest ferredoxins – proteins that shuttle electrons within the cell, to support metabolism. As cells evolved, ferredoxins mutated into more complex forms. The ferredoxins in modern bacteria, plant and animal cells are all derived from that simple ancestor. Credit: Ian Campbell, Rice University

    A Rutgers-led study sheds light on one of the most enduring mysteries of science: How did metabolism – the process by which life powers itself by converting energy from food into movement and growth – begin?

    To answer that question, the researchers reverse-engineered a primordial protein and inserted it into a living bacterium, where it successfully powered the cell’s metabolism, growth and reproduction, according to the study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Source: [Rutgers Today]