Primordial world concept art

ProtoMet attempts to understand how prebiotic chemistry gave rise to dissipative chemical systems that supported early cellular life. Previously deciphered prebiotic versions of triose glycolysis and the citric acid cycle will be integrated, thus reconstructing large fragments of a chemical network, i.e. metabolism, capable of supporting protocellular life. But the chemistry of life does not proceed without control and without providing some type of tangible benefit to a cell. Therefore, the first steps towards a nascent, enzyme-controlled metabolism will be explored by investigating peptide sequences that can intervene within protometabolic processes. More importantly, the flux of material through this protometabolism will lead to the formation of cell-like compartments. ProtoMet consists of research groups at the University of Trento, University College London, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, University of Strasbourg, University of the Basque Country, ETH Zurich, and the biotech companies Elvesys and Cherry Biotech. Partner organizations include Nanovex, Metallopharm, and Kutxagestion Zerbitzuak S.L.U.