Single cells often generate precise responses by involving dissipative out-of-thermodynamic
equilibrium processes in signaling networks. The available free energy to fuel these
processes could become limited depending on the metabolic state of an individual cell.
How does limiting dissipation affect the kinetics of high precision responses in single
cells? I address this question in the context of a kinetic proofreading scheme used
in a simple model of early time T cell signaling. I show using exact analytical calculations
and numerical simulations that limiting dissipation qualitatively changes the kinetics
in single cells marked by emergence of slow kinetics, large cell-to-cell variations
of copy numbers, temporally correlated stochastic events (dynamic facilitation), and,
ergodicity breaking. Thus, constraints in energy dissipation, in addition to negatively
affecting ligand discrimination in T cells, can create a fundamental difficulty in
interpreting single cell kinetics from cell population level results.