Origin of Life pp 393-397 | Cite as

Histidyl-Histidine Catalysis of Glycine Condensation in Fluctuating Clay Environments

  • David H. White
  • Jeffrey C. Erickson
Conference paper


Histidyl-histidine is a remarkably effective catalyst of peptide bond formation in the reaction of glycine in a fluctuating (hot-dry, cold-wet) clay environment. It has shown turnover numbers (niolecules of glycine incorporated in oligoglycines per molecule of catalyst) as high as 18 in a single cycle and as high as 52 overall. A number of other dipeptides were tested, as well as monomeric histidine, N-acetyl histidine, and imidazole, none of which showed turnover numbers greater than one. Histidyl-histidine is a model for a prebiotic protoenzyme, and implications for the development of a simple translation mechanism are discussed.


Single Cycle Turnover Number Peptide Bond Formation Amino Acid Resi Plateau Effect 
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  1. 1.
    Lahav, N., White, D., and Chang, S., Science 201, 67 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Theng, B.K.G., The Chemistry of Clay-Organic Reactions, Wiley, New York, 1974, p. 13Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    White, D.H., and Erickson, J.C., J.Mol. Evol., in pressGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    White, D.H., and Erickson, J.C., submitted for publicationGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. White
    • 1
  • Jeffrey C. Erickson
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of Santa ClaraSanta ClaraUSA

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