Journal of Biological Physics

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 607–638

The Possibility of the Formation of Protocells and Their Structural Components on the Basis of the Apatite Matrix and Cocrystallizing Minerals


DOI: 10.1007/s10867-005-2383-x

Cite this article as:
Kostetsky, E.Y. J Biol Phys (2005) 31: 607. doi:10.1007/s10867-005-2383-x


This paper presents the author's theory on the possibility of simultaneous hard-phase synthesis of various organic molecules from gas-phase elements on the basis of the apatite matrix and cocrystallizing minerals (carbonate-apatite, calcite, mica). These molecules and their ensembles gave rise to living systems and protocells of the pro- and eukaryotic types. Synthesis might have occurred through gradual substitution of the mineral matrix by crystal organic matter. The structure and size of the molecules synthesized were determined by the structure, physical parameters, and arrangement of organizing centers in the crystal lattice. Apatite phosphates were embedded in a synthesized nucleic helix and their size and purine–pyrimidine complementarity were determined. Apatite and cocrystallizing minerals were seen to be involved in the synthesis of four basic classes of cell components: apatite-DNA and nucleoproteide complexes; carbonate-apatite–enzymes, other proteins involved in DNA replication, all RNA types and their complexes with the specific proteins and enzymes of transcription and translation; calcite–cytoskeletal proteins; and mica–membrane lipids and proteins. The evidence supporting this theory is presented. A possible mechanism to account for the transition from crystal through organo-mineral crystal to liquid crystal (protocell) and a model of the occurrence of the matrix mechanism of transcription and translation are proposed. Some principal problems in the biochemistry and molecular biology of the origin of life on the Earth are discussed.

Key words

origin of lifeprotocellsmineralsorgano–mineral crystalliquid crystalmolecular evolutionmatrix mechanism

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyFar Eastern National UniversityVladivostokRussia