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Universality of thermodynamic constants governing biological growth rates


Corkrey, R and Olley, J and Ratkowsky, D and McMeekin, T and Ross, T, Universality of thermodynamic constants governing biological growth rates, PLoS One, 7, (2) Article e32003. ISSN 1932-6203 (2012) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032003


Background: Mathematical models exist that quantify the effect of temperature on poikilotherm growth rate. One family of such models assumes a single rate-limiting ‘master reaction’ using terms describing the temperature-dependent denaturation of the reaction’s enzyme. We consider whether such a model can describe growth in each domain of life.

Methodology/Principal Findings: A new model based on this assumption and using a hierarchical Bayesian approach fits simultaneously 95 data sets for temperature-related growth rates of diverse microorganisms from all three domains of life, Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. Remarkably, the model produces credible estimates of fundamental thermodynamic parameters describing protein thermal stability predicted over 20 years ago.

Conclusions/Significance: The analysis lends support to the concept of universal thermodynamic limits to microbial growth rate dictated by protein thermal stability that in turn govern biological rates. This suggests that the thermal stability of proteins is a unifying property in the evolution and adaptation of life on earth. The fundamental nature of this conclusion has importance for many fields of study including microbiology, protein chemistry, thermal biology, and ecological theory including, for example, the influence of the vast microbial biomass and activity in the biosphere that is poorly described in current climate models.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:thermodynamic constants, growth rates, mathematical model, master reaction, temperature-dependent, enzyme reaction, protein, evolution, microbiology, protein chemistry, thermal biology, ecological theory
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Microbiology
Research Field:Microbiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Corkrey, R (Dr Ross Corkrey)
UTAS Author:Olley, J (Professor June Olley)
UTAS Author:Ratkowsky, D (Dr David Ratkowsky)
UTAS Author:McMeekin, T (Professor Thomas McMeekin)
UTAS Author:Ross, T (Professor Tom Ross)
ID Code:73097
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:52
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:2011-09-12
Last Modified:2017-10-05
Downloads:353 View Download Statistics

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