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227 Views of RNA: Is RNA Unique in Its Chemical Isomer Space?

Cleaves, H. James and Meringer, Markus and Goodwin, Jay T. (2015) 227 Views of RNA: Is RNA Unique in Its Chemical Isomer Space? AbSciCon - Astrobiology Science Conference 2015, 15. - 19. Jul 2015, Chicago, IL, USA.

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Official URL: http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/abscicon2015/pdf/7761.pdf


Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is one of the two nucleic acids used by extant biochemistry, and plays a central role as the intermediary carrier of genet-ic information in transcription and translation. If RNA was involved in the origin of life, it should have a facile prebiotic synthesis. A wide variety of such syntheses have been explored. However, to date no one-pot reaction has been shown capable of yielding RNA monomers from likely prebiotically-abundant starting materials, though this does not rule out the possibility that simpler, more easily prebiotically-accessible nucleic acids may have preceded RNA. Given structural constraints, such as the ability to form complementary base-pairs and a linear covalent polymer, a variety of structural isomers of RNA could potentially function as genetic platforms. Using structure generation software, all of the potential structural isomers of the ribosides (BC5H9O4, where B is nucleobase), as well as a set of simpler minimal analogues derived from them, that can potentially serve as mono-meric building blocks of nucleic acid-like molecules were enumerated. Molecules were selected based on their likely stability under biochemically relevant conditions (e.g. moderate pH and temperature), and the presence of at least two functional groups allowing the monomers to be incorporated into linear polymers. The resulting structures were then evaluated using molecular descriptors typically applied in quantitative structure–property relationship (QSPR) studies and predicted physicochemical properties. Several databases were queried to see if any of the computed isomers had been synthesized previously. Very few of the molecules that emerged from this structure set have been previously described. We conclude that ribonucleosides may have competed with a multitude of alternative structures whose potential proto-biochemical roles and abiotic syntheses remain to be explored.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/96673/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:227 Views of RNA: Is RNA Unique in Its Chemical Isomer Space?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Cleaves, H. JamesEarth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Meringer, MarkusUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8526-2429UNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:ribonucleic acid, origin of life, structure generation software, molecular descriptors, databases
Event Title:AbSciCon - Astrobiology Science Conference 2015
Event Location:Chicago, IL, USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:15. - 19. Jul 2015
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:other
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R - no assignment
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - no assignment, R - Atmospheric and climate research
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Remote Sensing Technology Institute > Atmospheric Processors
Deposited By: Meringer, Dr.rer.nat. Markus
Deposited On:18 Jun 2015 12:53
Last Modified:29 Mar 2023 00:23

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