Energy Propagation Through a Protometabolism Leading to the Local Emergence of Singular Stationary Concentration Profiles

Authors

  • Dr. Matthieu Emond,

    1. École Normale Supérieure, Département de Chimie, UMR CNRS-ENS-UPMC 8640 PASTEUR, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05 (France)
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  • Dr. Thomas Le Saux,

    1. École Normale Supérieure, Département de Chimie, UMR CNRS-ENS-UPMC 8640 PASTEUR, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05 (France)
    2. Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 06, 4, place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05 (France)
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  • Prof. Jean-Francois Allemand,

    1. Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, École Normale Supérieure, CNRS UMR8550, UPMC, U. Paris Diderot, 24 rue Lhomond 75005 Paris (France)
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  • Dr. Philippe Pelupessy,

    1. Département de Chimie, École Normale Supérieure, UMR CNRS-UPMC-ENS 7203, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05 (France)
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  • Dr. Raphaël Plasson,

    1. IRIDIA, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50, Av. F. Roosevelt, CP 194/6 1050 Brussels (Belgium)
    2. Current address: Dept. Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 100 Edwin H. Lane Bvd, Cambridge MA 02142 (USA)
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  • Prof. Ludovic Jullien

    Corresponding author
    1. École Normale Supérieure, Département de Chimie, UMR CNRS-ENS-UPMC 8640 PASTEUR, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05 (France)
    2. Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 06, 4, place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05 (France)
    • École Normale Supérieure, Département de Chimie, UMR CNRS-ENS-UPMC 8640 PASTEUR, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05 (France)===

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Abstract

Living systems rely on chains of energy transfer from an energy source to maintain their metabolism. This task requires functionally identified components and organizations. However, propagation of a sustained energy flux through a cascade of reaction cycles has never been reproduced at a steady state in a simple chemical system. By using energy patterning and a diffusing hub reactant, we achieved the transfer of energy through an abiotic protometabolism. Patterned illumination was applied to a liquid solution of a reversible photoacid. It resulted in the local onset of a proton pump, which subsequently drove an extended reaction–diffusion cycle that involved pH-sensitive reactants. Thus, light has been used for locally setting out of chemical equilibrium a reaction involving “blind” reactants. The spontaneous onset of an energy-transfer chain notably drives the local generation of singular dissipative chemical structures; continuous matter fluxes are dynamically maintained at boundaries between spatially and chemically segregated zones, in the absence of any membrane or predetermined material structure.

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