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The complexity of life: from molecules to man
Start: 28/03/2018, 13:00
End: 28/03/2018, 13:00
Contact:Dr Marianne de Villiers - 021 8085862/5865
Location: JC Smuts Building A203/JC Smutsgebou A203

​​Prof Jannie Hofmeyr will give a lecture on "The complexity of life: from molecules to man".


As you are reading this, and throughout your life, you and every other living organism must solve a serious problem: the molecules you made from are fragile, and to persist as a functional whole beyond the individual lifetimes of your components you need to continuously fabricating them, and ultimately, yourself. This property of self-fabrication is the most basic expression of life itself. Self-fabricating systems must be causally closed, and in this talk I identify the classes of biochemical causes in the cell and show how they are organised in a so-called hierarchical cycle, which is the hallmark of a complex system.
Broadly speaking, the three classes of causes are the enzyme catalysts of covalent metabolic chemistry, the intracellular milieu that drives the supramolecular processes of chaperone-assisted folding and selfassembly of polypeptides and nucleic acids into functional catalysts and transporters, and the membrane transporters that maintain the intracellular milieu, in particular its electrolyte composition.