Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Protein Sci. 2011 Dec;20(12):2074-9. doi: 10.1002/pro.747. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

The Levinthal paradox of the interactome.

Author information

  • 1VIB Department of Structural Biology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. ptompa@vub.ac.be

Abstract

The central biological question of the 21st century is: how does a viable cell emerge from the bewildering combinatorial complexity of its molecular components? Here, we estimate the combinatorics of self-assembling the protein constituents of a yeast cell, a number so vast that the functional interactome could only have emerged by iterative hierarchic assembly of its component sub-assemblies. A protein can undergo both reversible denaturation and hierarchic self-assembly spontaneously, but a functioning interactome must expend energy to achieve viability. Consequently, it is implausible that a completely "denatured" cell could be reversibly renatured spontaneously, like a protein. Instead, new cells are generated by the division of pre-existing cells, an unbroken chain of renewal tracking back through contingent conditions and evolving responses to the origin of life on the prebiotic earth. We surmise that this non-deterministic temporal continuum could not be reconstructed de novo under present conditions.

Copyright © 2011 The Protein Society.

PMID:
21987416
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3302650
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (2)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk