Next Article in Journal
Homocysteine Editing, Thioester Chemistry, Coenzyme A, and the Origin of Coded Peptide Synthesis †
Next Article in Special Issue
Small and Random Peptides: An Unexplored Reservoir of Potentially Functional Primitive Organocatalysts. The Case of Seryl-Histidine
Previous Article in Journal
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Life in 2016
Previous Article in Special Issue
Dry/Wet Cycling and the Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Prebiotic Polymer Synthesis
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Life 2017, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/life7010005

The Role of Lipid Membranes in Life’s Origin

Department of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
Academic Editor: Pier Luigi Luisi
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Emergence of Life: From Chemical Origins to Synthetic Biology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [11493 KB, uploaded 17 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

At some point in early evolution, life became cellular. Assuming that this step was required for the origin of life, there would necessarily be a pre-existing source of amphihilic compounds capable of assembling into membranous compartments. It is possible to make informed guesses about the properties of such compounds and the conditions most conducive to their self-assembly into boundary structures. The membranes were likely to incorporate mixtures of hydrocarbon derivatives between 10 and 20 carbons in length with carboxylate or hydroxyl head groups. Such compounds can be synthesized by chemical reactions and small amounts were almost certainly present in the prebiotic environment. Membrane assembly occurs most readily in low ionic strength solutions with minimal content of salt and divalent cations, which suggests that cellular life began in fresh water pools associated with volcanic islands rather than submarine hydrothermal vents. View Full-Text
Keywords: membranes; protocells; encapsulation membranes; protocells; encapsulation
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Deamer, D. The Role of Lipid Membranes in Life’s Origin. Life 2017, 7, 5.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Life EISSN 2075-1729 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top