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How do Nucleotides Adsorb Onto Clays?

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA
2
Univ Lyon, Université Lyon 1, Ens de Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5276 LGL-TPE, F-69622 Villeurbanne, France
3
Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire des Environnements Continentaux, CNRS-Université de Lorraine, UMR 7360, 54501 Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France
4
Laboratoire PHENIX, Sorbonne Université/CNRS UMR 8234, Case 51, 4 Place Jussieu, F-75005 Paris, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals and Origins of Life)
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Abstract

Adsorption of prebiotic building blocks is proposed to have played a role in the emergence of life on Earth. The experimental and theoretical study of this phenomenon should be guided by our knowledge of the geochemistry of the habitable early Earth environments, which could have spanned a large range of settings. Adsorption being an interfacial phenomenon, experiments can be built around the minerals that probably exhibited the largest specific surface areas and were the most abundant, i.e., phyllosilicates. Our current work aims at understanding how nucleotides, the building blocks of RNA and DNA, might have interacted with phyllosilicates under various physico-chemical conditions. We carried out and refined batch adsorption studies to explore parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity, etc. We built a comprehensive, generalized model of the adsorption mechanisms of nucleotides onto phyllosilicate particles, mainly governed by phosphate reactivity. More recently, we used surface chemistry and geochemistry techniques, such as vibrational spectroscopy, low pressure gas adsorption, X-ray microscopy, and theoretical simulations, in order to acquire direct data on the adsorption configurations and localization of nucleotides on mineral surfaces. Although some of these techniques proved to be challenging, questioning our ability to easily detect biosignatures, they confirmed and complemented our pre-established model. View Full-Text
Keywords: adsorption; phyllosilicates; origins of life; geochemistry; surface chemistry adsorption; phyllosilicates; origins of life; geochemistry; surface chemistry
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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).
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Pedreira-Segade, U.; Hao, J.; Razafitianamaharavo, A.; Pelletier, M.; Marry, V.; Le Crom, S.; Michot, L.J.; Daniel, I. How do Nucleotides Adsorb Onto Clays? Life 2018, 8, 59.

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