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The Impact of Salts on Single Chain Amphiphile Membranes and Implications for the Location of the Origin of Life

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley St., New Britain, CT 06050, USA
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Vents or Hydrothermal Fields: Challenging Paradigms)
One of the key steps in the origins of life was the formation of a membrane to separate protocells from their environment. These membranes are proposed to have been formed out of single chain amphiphiles, which are less stable than the dialkyl lipids used to form modern membranes. This lack of stability, specifically for decanoate, is often used to refute ocean locations for the origins of life. This review addresses the formation of membranes in hydrothermal-vent like conditions, as well as other environmental constraints. Specifically, single chain amphiphiles can form membranes at high sea salt concentrations (150 g/L), high temperatures (65 °C), and a wide pH range (2 to 10). It additionally discusses the major challenges and advantages of membrane formation in both ocean and fresh water locations. View Full-Text
Keywords: prebiotic; vesicles; liposomes; protocell; abiogenesis; ionic solutes; amphiphiles prebiotic; vesicles; liposomes; protocell; abiogenesis; ionic solutes; amphiphiles
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Maurer, S. The Impact of Salts on Single Chain Amphiphile Membranes and Implications for the Location of the Origin of Life. Life 2017, 7, 44.

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