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Cellular Computations

Similar to computing on chips, the biochemical networks behind cellular computations are also constrained by energetic considerations, write Boston University's Pankaj Mehta and Princeton University's David Schwab in a paper posted online at arXiv. Mehta and Schwab examined a simple two-component cellular network "that encodes information about ligand concentration in the steady-state concentration of the activated form of a downstream protein" — which they note is common in bacteria — and calculated its energetic costs. "[Our calculations] suggest a fundamental relationship between the efficiency of cellular computing and the energy consumption," Mehta and Schwab write.

"These guys actually derive a mathematical expression that gives this biochemical circuit's power consumption," KFC adds at the Physics arXiv Blog. "The expression shows that learning about the environment always requires the network to use up energy."

The Scan

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.