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Life 2015, 5(2), 1239-1263;

Current Ideas about Prebiological Compartmentalization

Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT), Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense, Denmark
Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry, Department of Materials, ETH-Zürich, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 5, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Fabio Mavelli and Pasquale Stano
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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Contemporary biological cells are highly sophisticated dynamic compartment systems which separate an internal volume from the external medium through a boundary, which controls, in complex ways, the exchange of matter and energy between the cell’s interior and the environment. Since such compartmentalization is a fundamental principle of all forms of life, scenarios have been elaborated about the emergence of prebiological compartments on early Earth, in particular about their likely structural characteristics and dynamic features. Chemical systems that consist of potentially prebiological compartments and chemical reaction networks have been designed to model pre-cellular systems. These systems are often referred to as “protocells”. Past and current protocell model systems are presented and compared. Since the prebiotic formation of cell-like compartments is directly linked to the prebiotic availability of compartment building blocks, a few aspects on the likely chemical inventory on the early Earth are also summarized. View Full-Text
Keywords: protocell; compartment; lipids; fatty acids; vesicles; coacervates; amphiphiles; origin of life protocell; compartment; lipids; fatty acids; vesicles; coacervates; amphiphiles; origin of life

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Monnard, P.-A.; Walde, P. Current Ideas about Prebiological Compartmentalization. Life 2015, 5, 1239-1263.

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