1 FLinT - Center for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU2 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU3 University of Rome34 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU5 FLinT - Center for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU
A short peptide composed of only two amino acid residues, serine and histidine, is here reported to enable oligomerization of RNA monomers. SerHis dipeptide was previously reported to catalyse formation of peptide bonds (Gorlero et al. 2009) as well as possessing broad hydrolytic activities resulting in hydrolysis of esters, proteins and nucleic acids (Li et al. 2000). The direction of the catalysis either toward hydrolysis or condensation is determined by thermodynamic constraints. Prebiotically compatible reactions are generally required to be performed in an aqueous medium – in such environment hydrolysis is thermodynamically favoured over condensation. However, the thermodynamic equilibrium towards condensation can be shifted even in this environment. In this poster we describe a prebiotically plausible system in which the SerHis dipeptide acts as catalyst for the formation of RNA oligomers from imidazole derivatives of mononucleotides. The thermodynamic shift towards condensation was achieved using water/ice eutectic phase environment (Monnard and Ziock 2008). To obtain such an environment, a reaction solution is cooled below its freezing point, but above the eutectic point. Under these conditions, most of the water is in the form of ice crystals and the other reactants are upconcentrated in the remaining liquid micro-inclusions, hence creating an environment with low water activity in which condensation reactions can occur. The ability of simple peptides to catalyse RNA synthesis could represent a link between prebiotic chemistry and the RNA world. Short peptides are plausible products of prebiotic chemistry (Rode 1999). Consequently, they could have influenced chemical evolution on an early stage. Finally, it hints that the evolution towards enzymes could have started at a very early stage of chemical evolution. References Gorlero M, Wieczorek R, Adamala K, Giorgi A, Schininà ME, Stano P, Luisi PL. (2009) Ser-His catalyses the formation of peptides and PNAs. FEBS Lett. 583(1):153-6. Li Y, Zhao Y, Hatfield S, Wan R, Zhu Q, Li X, McMills M, Ma Y, Li J, Brown KL, He C, Liu F, Chen X. (2000) Dipeptide seryl-histidine and related oligopeptides cleave DNA, protein, and a carboxyl ester. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 8(12): 2675-80. Monnard PA, Ziock H. (2008) Eutectic phase in water-ice: a self-assembled environment conducive to metal-catalyzed non-enzymatic RNA polymerization. Chem Biodivers. 5(8):1521-39. Rode BM. (1999) Peptides and the origin of life. Peptides 20(6): 773–786.