Scientists Discover For The First Time That A Simple Cell Contains 42 Million Protein Molecules

A study reveals for the first time how many molecules of each protein are there in a cell.

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A cell is known as the fundamental building block of all living organisms, and scientists want to know what exactly is in a cell to give it its makeup. In their new research, they discovered that a simple cell contains about 42 million protein molecules.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Cell Systems. The study was led by Grant Brown, a biochemistry professor in the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, and other colleagues. The scientists examined many large studies of protein abundance in yeast cells and they were able to estimate the number of molecules for each protein, according to Phys.org.

Scientists have long been curious about what makes up a cell and they want to determine how many protein molecules are in there. Another reason for such curiosity is that several diseases are caused by either having too little or too much of a particular protein. If they knew the quantity of protein abundance in a cell, they could be able to control and find a remedy for such medical condition that arises.

In the research, the scientists examined the species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This species of yeast is used for winemaking, brewing, and baking, and is often used in studies in molecular and cell biology. Yeasts are known as the only organism for which there was much available data to gauge the molecule number for each of the 6,000 proteins encoded by the yeast genome.

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The scientists measured the number of molecules of each protein in the cell and found it to be around 42 million. Most of the proteins exist between a range of 1,000 and 10,000 molecules and some exceedingly bountiful at over a half million copies. Meanwhile, others are visible in fewer than 10 molecules in a cell, according to Sci-News.

The results of this study could provide insights into the mechanisms by which cells control the abundance of certain proteins. This may lead to related studies in human cells that could provide information on the molecular roots of disease. The scientists may also trace and know how these proteins act and what they are doing.