Next Article in Journal
Regulation of Three Nitrogenase Gene Clusters in the Cyanobacterium Anabaena variabilis ATCC 29413
Next Article in Special Issue
Droplets: Unconventional Protocell Model with Life-Like Dynamics and Room to Grow
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Toward Spatially Regulated Division of Protocells: Insights into the E. coli Min System from in Vitro Studies
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Life 2014, 4(4), 929-943;

Reconciling Ligase Ribozyme Activity with Fatty Acid Vesicle Stability

Department of Bionanoscience, Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, Lorentzweg 1, 2628 CJ, Delft, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 21 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 11 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1534 KB, uploaded 11 December 2014]   |  


The “RNA world” and the “Lipid world” theories for the origin of cellular life are often considered incompatible due to the differences in the environmental conditions at which they can emerge. One obstacle resides in the conflicting requirements for divalent metal ions, in particular Mg2+, with respect to optimal ribozyme activity, fatty acid vesicle stability and protection against RNA strand cleavage. Here, we report on the activity of a short L1 ligase ribozyme in the presence of myristoleic acid (MA) vesicles at varying concentrations of Mg2+. The ligation rate is significantly lower at low-Mg2+ conditions. However, the loss of activity is overcompensated by the increased stability of RNA leading to a larger amount of intact ligated substrate after long reaction periods. Combining RNA ligation assays with fatty acid vesicles we found that MA vesicles made of 5 mM amphiphile are stable and do not impair ligase ribozyme activity in the presence of approximately 2 mM Mg2+. These results provide a scenario in which catalytic RNA and primordial membrane assembly can coexist in the same environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: catalytic RNA; fatty acid; lipid vesicle; protocell; RNA degradation catalytic RNA; fatty acid; lipid vesicle; protocell; RNA degradation

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).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Anella, F.; Danelon, C. Reconciling Ligase Ribozyme Activity with Fatty Acid Vesicle Stability. Life 2014, 4, 929-943.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



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