A Mechanism for the Prebiotic Emergence of Proteins

The Role of Proton Gradient and High Temperature in the Polymerization of Amino Acids Embedded in Bilayers
  • H. P. De Vladar
  • R. Cipriani
  • B. Scharifker
  • J. Bubis
Part of the Cellular Origin and Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 7)

Abstract

The first living organisms were not necessarily the result of the assembly of fully structured biochemical mechanisms involving macromolecules, but at least some life-related processes, as we know them today, probably appeared alongside the structural integration and early evolution of these proto-organisms. Along these ideas, we consider that spatial compartmentalization and protein functionality are tightly related in their origin. A possible scenario of this relationship is the early polymerization of amino acids (AA) embedded in amphiphilic membranes. The resulting membrane-embedded proto-proteins could have played an important role modulating the transport of elements or ions between the internal compartment and the environment. This scenario is congruent with selectivity arguments of AA (Hitz & DeLuisi, 2000) (i.e., 20 out of nearly 70 originally available (Croning & Chang, 1993; Engel & Nagy, 1982)) and their homochirality (Hitz et al., 2001). Other mechanisms of peptide bond formation, such as alumina-catalyzed reactions (Bujdak & Rode, 2002), polymerization on clay surfaces (Bujdak & Rode, 1996) and polymerization mediated by thioesters (De Duve, 1996), can also lead to this scenario.

Keywords

Peptide Bond Formation Internal Compartment Polyamino Acid Murchison Meteorite Spatial Compartmentalization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. P. De Vladar
    • 1
  • R. Cipriani
    • 2
  • B. Scharifker
    • 3
  • J. Bubis
    • 4
  1. 1.Centro de BiotecnologíaFundación Instituto de Estudios AvanzadosCaracasVenezuela
  2. 2.Departamento de Estudios AmbientalesUniversidad Simón BolívarCaracas-VenezuelaVenezuela
  3. 3.Departamento de QuímicaUniversidad Simón BolívarCaracas-VenezuelaVenezuela
  4. 4.Departamento de Biología CelularUniversidad Simón BolívarCaracas-VenezuelaVenezuela

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