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Are there any statistics available on how much energy organisms use for each biological functions (i.e. something similar to the line of "Bacteria spend X% of energy on information processing, Y% for tissue maintenance and Z% for locomotion. Mammals spend..."). I'm particularly interested on how much energy is spent on information processing.

I vaguely remember seeing such stats somewhere, but for the love of god I can't remember where...

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Out of curiosity, what do you mean by information processing? I can see this being used in several ways in biology: transcription/translation, signal transduction, you might even make an argument that some forms of enzyme binding kinetics are information processing (identifying the correct input from a sea of possible inputs). Of course also these numbers would only be meaningful in very specified and constrained environments. –  A. Kennard Nov 25 at 10:47
In bacteria this has been studied in great detail for cells growing in steady balanced exponential growth. The classic reference work for this is Physiology of the Bacterial Cell by Neidhardt, Ingraham, and Schaechter: amazon.com/Physiology-Bacterial-Cell-Molecular-Approach/dp/… . Over the course of a few chapters they painstakingly identify how many ATP molecules are consumed for each process, from replication, transcription, translation, cell wall synthesis, etc, over the course of a single cell cycle. Not sure if this has been done in eukaryotes. –  A. Kennard Nov 25 at 10:48
@A.Kennard: I mean the energy spent on sensing external stimuli (light, sound, pressure, smell...) and making decisions based on it. I realize making such categorization would be very hard and error prone (just like in real economies, I guess), but I imagine it could still yield interesting insight, like parasitic insects can get away with only x% while mammals typically have to spend y% etc. –  Enno Shioji Nov 25 at 10:55
Awesome. You're right that the categorization may be difficult, but I absolutely see the potential interest. Narrowing down the question like this to the fraction of energy consumption in signal transduction already makes it more tractable. Complementary to your question about energy consumption, are you aware of the bioinformatic research on genome reduction in parasites? I think interesting trends can be observed comparing the loss of signal transduction proteins compared to other protein groups. An example of this type of analysis: ijsb.sgmjournals.org/content/54/6/1937.full –  A. Kennard Nov 25 at 11:08

1 Answer 1

This is not a proper answer. Bear with me. I'm in a hurry; will edit the answer to a decent form when I find time.

From the abstract of this paper:

Of the 80% of oxygen consumption coupled to ATP synthesis, approximately 25-30% is used by protein synthesis, 19-28% by the Na+-K+-ATPase, 4-8% by the Ca2+-ATPase, 2-8% by the actinomyosin ATPase, 7-10% by gluconeogenesis, and 3% by ureagenesis, with mRNA synthesis and substrate cycling also making significant contributions.

Also check this out.

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