Every cell depends on a conserved core set of metabolic reactions, and necessitates flexibility in the flux through the reactions in order to adapt to changes in physiology. We combine quantitative mass spectrometry with genetic tools to study how metabolic networks react upon changes in environment and during ageing. In this talk I'll present novel results that indicate origins of this network date back to the prebiotic world. In chemical simulations of an Archaean ocean, we detect the enzyme-free interconversion of metabolites constituting glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway, indicating a pre-enzymatic origin of these reaction sequences.
In the modern metabolic network however, additional constraints arise from the limited number of catalysts over the high complexity of chemical molecules present in the metabolic network. Cells can overcome this by compartmentalisation of the networks over time and space. In the second part of the presentation I'll show examples of how modern cells adjust their metabolic flux in order to adjust to rapid growth and during stress conditions.
Tea and coffee will be served following the seminar.
The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments..