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Life 2017, 7(4), 39; doi:10.3390/life7040039

Origin of the Reductive Tricarboxylic Acid (rTCA) Cycle-Type CO2 Fixation: A Perspective

1
Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
2
Department of Biotechnology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
3
Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Keio University, Tsuruoka, 997-0017, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Vents or Hydrothermal Fields: Challenging Paradigms)
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Abstract

The reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle is among the most plausible candidates for the first autotrophic metabolism in the earliest life. Extant enzymes fixing CO2 in this cycle contain cofactors at the catalytic centers, but it is unlikely that the protein/cofactor system emerged at once in a prebiotic process. Here, we discuss the feasibility of non-enzymatic cofactor-assisted drive of the rTCA reactions in the primitive Earth environments, particularly focusing on the acetyl-CoA conversion to pyruvate. Based on the energetic and mechanistic aspects of this reaction, we propose that the deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments with active electricity generation in the presence of various sulfide catalysts are a promising setting for it to progress. Our view supports the theory of an autotrophic origin of life from primordial carbon assimilation within a sulfide-rich hydrothermal vent. View Full-Text
Keywords: acetyl-CoA; astrobiology; carbon assimilation; chemical evolution; metabolism; origin of life; pyruvate; thiamine pyrophosphate; thioester acetyl-CoA; astrobiology; carbon assimilation; chemical evolution; metabolism; origin of life; pyruvate; thiamine pyrophosphate; thioester
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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).

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Kitadai, N.; Kameya, M.; Fujishima, K. Origin of the Reductive Tricarboxylic Acid (rTCA) Cycle-Type CO2 Fixation: A Perspective. Life 2017, 7, 39.

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