Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a key compound in the energy metabolism of cells and is required to drive vital biochemical reactions. In heterotrophic organisms ATP production is coupled to the degradation of energy-rich organic material taken up from the environment. In the transfer of the environmental energy to cellular processes heterotrophs face a tradeoff, since the conversion of the environmental energy into ATP cannot be both maximally fast and efficient. Here we show how tradeoffs between rate and yield of ATP production arise firstly from thermodynamical principles, and secondly for the ATP production by respiration and fermentation. Using methods derived from game theory and population dynamics we investigate the evolutionary consequences for both tradeoffs. We show that spatially structured environments enable the evolution of efficient pathways with high yield. The strategies of ATP production realized in a population, however, depend on the quantitative properties of the tradeoffs.
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Evolutionary Consequences of Tradeoffs between Yield and Rate of ATP Production
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Published Online: 2009-09-25
Published in Print: 2002-01