This paper is a theoretical attempt to gain insight into the problemof howself-assembling vesicles (closed bilayer structures) could progressively turn into minimal self-producing and self-reproducing cells, i.e. into interesting candidates for (proto)biological systems. With this aim, we make use of a recently developed object-oriented platform to carry out stochastic simulations of chemical reaction networks that take place in dynamic cellular compartments. We apply this new tool to study the behaviour of different minimal cell models, making realistic assumptions about the physico-chemical processes and conditions involved (e.g. thermodynamic equilibrium/non-equilibrium, variable volume-to-surface relationship, osmotic pressure, solute diffusion across the membrane due to concentration gradients, buffering effect). The new programming platform has been designed to analyse not only how a single protometabolic cell could maintain itself, grow or divide, but also how a collection of these cells could ‘evolve’ as a result of their mutual interactions in a common environment.
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