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Protoenzymes: The Case of Hyperbranched Polymer-Scaffolded ZnS Nanocrystals

1
Earth Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
2
Blue Marble Institute for Science, 1001 4th Ave, Suite 3201, Seattle, WA 98154, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Life 2020, 10(8), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080150
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 3 June 2020 / Accepted: 4 July 2020 / Published: 13 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Astrobiology)
Enzymes are biological catalysts that are comprised of small-molecule, metal, or cluster catalysts augmented by biopolymeric scaffolds. It is conceivable that early in chemical evolution, ancestral enzymes opted for simpler, easier to assemble scaffolds. Herein, we describe such possible protoenzymes: hyperbranched polymer-scaffolded metal-sulfide nanocrystals. Hyperbranched polyethyleneimine (HyPEI) and glycerol citrate polymer-supported ZnS nanocrystals (NCs) are formed in a simple process. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses of HyPEI-supported NCs reveal spherical particles with an average size of 10 nm that undergo only a modest aggregation over a 14-day incubation. The polymer-supported ZnS NCs are shown to possess a high photocatalytic activity in an eosin B photodegradation assay, making them an attractive model for the study of the origin of life under the “Zn world” theory dominated by a photocatalytic proto-metabolic redox reaction network. The catalyst, however, could be easily adapted to apply broadly to different protoenzymatic systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: protoenzyme; hyperbranched polymers; photocatalytic nanoparticles; polymer-supported nanoparticles; metal-sulfide nanocrystals protoenzyme; hyperbranched polymers; photocatalytic nanoparticles; polymer-supported nanoparticles; metal-sulfide nanocrystals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mamajanov, I.; Caudan, M.; Jia, T.Z. Protoenzymes: The Case of Hyperbranched Polymer-Scaffolded ZnS Nanocrystals. Life 2020, 10, 150. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080150

AMA Style

Mamajanov I, Caudan M, Jia TZ. Protoenzymes: The Case of Hyperbranched Polymer-Scaffolded ZnS Nanocrystals. Life. 2020; 10(8):150. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080150

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mamajanov, Irena, Melina Caudan, and Tony Z. Jia. 2020. "Protoenzymes: The Case of Hyperbranched Polymer-Scaffolded ZnS Nanocrystals" Life 10, no. 8: 150. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080150

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