Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 243–255 | Cite as

Abiogenic Photophosphorylation of ADP to ATP Sensitized by Flavoproteinoid Microspheres

  • Michael P. Kolesnikov
  • Taisiya A. Telegina
  • Tamara A. Lyudnikova
  • Mikhail S. KritskyEmail author
Prebiotic Chemistry


A model for abiogenic photophosphorylation of ADP by orthophosphate to yield ATP was studied. The model is based on the photochemical activity of flavoproteinoid microspheres that are formed by aggregation in an aqueous medium of products of thermal condensation of a glutamic acid, glycine and lysine mixture (8:3:1) and contain, along with amino acid polymers (proteinoids), abiogenic isoalloxazine (flavin) pigments. Irradiation of aqueous suspensions of microspheres with blue visible light or ultraviolet in the presence of ADP and orthophosphate resulted in ATP formation. The yield of ATP in aerated suspensions was 10–20% per one mol of starting ADP. Deaeration reduced the photophosphorylating activity of microspheres five to 10 times. Treatment of aerated microsphere suspensions with superoxide dismutase during irradiation partially suppressed ATP formation. Deaerated microspheres restored completely their photophosphorylating activity after addition of hydrogen peroxide to the suspension. The photophosphorylating activity of deaerated suspensions of flavoproteinoid microspheres was also recovered by introduction of Fe3+-cytochrome c, an electron acceptor alternative to oxygen. On the basis of the results obtained, a chemical mechanism of phosphorylation is proposed in which the free radical form of reduced flavin sensitizer \(\left( {{\text{FlH}}^ \bullet } \right)\) and ADP are involved.


Abiogenic synthesis ADP ATP Free radical Flavin Modeling Oxygen Photophosphorylation Proteinoid microspheres 



adenosine diphosphate


adenosine triphosphate


oxidized form of flavin

\({\text{FlH}}^ \bullet \)

free-radical reduced flavin


dihydroflavin (anionic form; 1Fl and 3Fl, singlet and triplet excited states of flavin


reactive oxygen species


high-performance liquid chromatography



Financial support from the Presidium of Russian Academy of Sciences (Basic Research Program No 18 “The Emergence and Evolution of the Earth’s Biosphere” and from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Projects 04-04-48965a and 07-04-00460a) is appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Kolesnikov
    • 1
  • Taisiya A. Telegina
    • 1
  • Tamara A. Lyudnikova
    • 1
  • Mikhail S. Kritsky
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.A.N.Bach Institute of BiochemistryRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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