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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? Astrobiology, 15 (7), pp. 538-558. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. doi: 10.1089/ast.2014.1213. ISSN 1531-1074.

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Official URL: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/ast.2014.1213


Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is one of the two nucleic acids used by extant biochemistry and plays a central role as the intermediary carrier of genetic 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. By using structure-generation software, all 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 monomeric building blocks of nucleic acid–like molecules are enumerated. Molecules are 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 are then evaluated by using molecular descriptors typically applied in quantitative structure–property relationship (QSPR) studies and predicted physicochemical properties. Several databases have been queried to determine whether any of the computed isomers had been synthesized previously. Very few of the molecules that emerge 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/99280/
Document Type:Article
Title:227 Views of RNA: Is RNA Unique in Its Chemical Isomer Space?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Cleaves, H. JamesEarth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Meringer, MarkusMarkus.Meringer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Goodwin, Jay T.Emory UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Date:22 July 2015
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1089/ast.2014.1213
Page Range:pp. 538-558
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Keywords:Evolution, Chemical evolution, Exobiology, Prebiotic chemistry, RNA world
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):Vorhaben Spectroscopic Methods in Remote Sensing (old), R - Vorhaben Planetary Evolution and Life (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Remote Sensing Technology Institute > Atmospheric Processors
Deposited By: Meringer, Dr.rer.nat. Markus
Deposited On:12 Nov 2015 14:31
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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