Cells are the basic units of all living matter which harness the flow of energy to drive the processes of life. While the biochemical networks involved in energy transduction are well-characterized, the energetic costs and constraints for specific cellular processes remain largely unknown. In particular, what are the energy budgets of cells? What are the constraints and limits energy flows impose on cellular processes? Do cells operate near these limits, and if so how do energetic constraints impact cellular functions? Physics has provided many tools to study nonequilibrium systems and to define physical limits, but applying these tools to cell biology remains a challenge. Physical bioenergetics, which resides at the interface of nonequilibrium physics, energy metabolism, and cell biology, seeks to understand how much energy cells are using, how they partition this energy between different cellular processes, and the associated energetic constraints. Here we review recent advances and discuss open questions and challenges in physical bioenergetics.
Fifteen compelling open questions in plant cell biology
Abstract As scientists, we are at least as excited about the open questions—the things we do not know—as the discoveries. Here, we asked 15 experts to describe the most compelling open questions in plant cell biology. These are their questions: How are organelle identity, domains, and boundaries maintained under the continuous flux of vesicle trafficking and membrane remodeling? Is the plant cortical microtubule cytoskeleton a mechanosensory apparatus? How are the cellular pathways of cell wall synthesis, assembly, modification, and integrity sensing linked in plants? Why do plasmodesmata open and close? Is there retrograde signaling from vacuoles to the nucleus? How do root cells accommodate fungal endosymbionts? What is the role of cell edges in plant morphogenesis? How is the cell division site determined? What are the emergent effects of polyploidy on the biology of the cell, and how are any such “rules” conditioned by cell type? Can mechanical forces trigger new cell fates in plants? How does a single differentiated somatic cell reprogram and gain pluripotency? How does polarity develop de-novo in isolated plant cells? What is the spectrum of cellular functions for membraneless organelles and intrinsically disordered proteins? How do plants deal with internal noise? How does order emerge more »
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- The Plant Cell
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 72 to 102
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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