N6-substituted adenine derivatives and RNA primitive catalysts

  • Jean-Luc Décout
  • Marie-Christine Maurel


In our search for primitive RNA catalysts, we noticed that N6-ribosyl-adenine, a compound easily synthesized under presumed prebiotic conditions, has a free imidazole group. We showed that it is, as a catalyst, a potential analogue of histidine. Furthermore, among the chemical groups involved in protein catalysis, the imidazole ring of histidine has no equivalent in the RNA world. We have synthesized aliphatic amino groups containing polymers with adenine rings linked to macromolecules by their 6-amino group. These polymers exhibit pronounced catalytic activities in the hydrolysis of p-nitrophenylacetate. We discuss here the fact that in primitive catalysis the imidazole group could have been replaced by N6-substituted adenine derivatives.


Catalysis Geochemistry Catalytic Activity Imidazole Macromolecule 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Luc Décout
    • 1
  • Marie-Christine Maurel
    • 2
  1. 1.L.E.D.S.S.6., Univ. J. FourierGrenoble CedexFrance
  2. 2.Inst. Jacques MonodParis Cedex 05France

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