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Prebiotic Factors Influencing the Activity of a Ligase Ribozyme

Department of Bionanoscience, Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, van der Maasweg 9, 2629 HZ Delft, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: David Deamer and Bruce Damer
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 1 April 2017 / Published: 6 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Origin of Cellular Life)
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An RNA-lipid origin of life scenario provides a plausible route for compartmentalized replication of an informational polymer and subsequent division of the container. However, a full narrative to form such RNA protocells implies that catalytic RNA molecules, called ribozymes, can operate in the presence of self-assembled vesicles composed of prebiotically relevant constituents, such as fatty acids. Hereby, we subjected a newly engineered truncated variant of the L1 ligase ribozyme, named tL1, to various environmental conditions that may have prevailed on the early Earth with the objective to find a set of control parameters enabling both tL1-catalyzed ligation and formation of stable myristoleic acid (MA) vesicles. The separate and concurrent effects of temperature, concentrations of Mg2+, MA, polyethylene glycol and various solutes were investigated. The most favorable condition tested consists of 100 mM NaCl, 1 mM Mg2+, 5 mM MA, and 4 °C temperature, whereas the addition of Mg2+-chelating solutes, such as citrate, tRNAs, aspartic acid, and nucleoside triphosphates severely inhibits the reaction. These results further solidify the RNA-lipid world hypothesis and stress the importance of using a systems chemistry approach whereby a wide range of prebiotic factors interfacing with ribozymes are considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: catalytic RNA; fatty acid; lipid vesicle; protocell; origins of life catalytic RNA; fatty acid; lipid vesicle; protocell; origins of life

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Anella, F.; Danelon, C. Prebiotic Factors Influencing the Activity of a Ligase Ribozyme. Life 2017, 7, 17.

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