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Life, Volume 9, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Open AccessArticle Plausible Emergence of Autocatalytic Cycles under Prebiotic Conditions
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Abstract
The emergence of life in a prebiotic world is an enormous scientific question of paramount philosophical importance. Even when life (in any sense we can define it) can be observed and replicated in the laboratory, it is only an indication of one possible [...] Read more.
The emergence of life in a prebiotic world is an enormous scientific question of paramount philosophical importance. Even when life (in any sense we can define it) can be observed and replicated in the laboratory, it is only an indication of one possible pathway for life emergence, and is by no means be a demonstration of how life really emerged. The best we can hope for is to indicate plausible chemical–physical conditions and mechanisms that might lead to self-organizing and autopoietic systems. Here we present a stochastic simulation, based on chemical reactions already observed in prebiotic environments, that might help in the design of new experiments. We will show how the definition of simple rules for the synthesis of random peptides may lead to the appearance of networks of autocatalytic cycles and the emergence of memory. Full article
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Open AccessReview Metalloproteins in the Biology of Heterocysts
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Cyanobacteria are photoautotrophic microorganisms present in almost all ecologically niches on Earth. They exist as single-cell or filamentous forms and the latter often contain specialized cells for N2 fixation known as heterocysts. Heterocysts arise from photosynthetic active vegetative cells by multiple morphological [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are photoautotrophic microorganisms present in almost all ecologically niches on Earth. They exist as single-cell or filamentous forms and the latter often contain specialized cells for N2 fixation known as heterocysts. Heterocysts arise from photosynthetic active vegetative cells by multiple morphological and physiological rearrangements including the absence of O2 evolution and CO2 fixation. The key function of this cell type is carried out by the metalloprotein complex known as nitrogenase. Additionally, many other important processes in heterocysts also depend on metalloproteins. This leads to a high metal demand exceeding the one of other bacteria in content and concentration during heterocyst development and in mature heterocysts. This review provides an overview on the current knowledge of the transition metals and metalloproteins required by heterocysts in heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria. It discusses the molecular, physiological, and physicochemical properties of metalloproteins involved in N2 fixation, H2 metabolism, electron transport chains, oxidative stress management, storage, energy metabolism, and metabolic networks in the diazotrophic filament. This provides a detailed and comprehensive picture on the heterocyst demands for Fe, Cu, Mo, Ni, Mn, V, and Zn as cofactors for metalloproteins and highlights the importance of such metalloproteins for the biology of cyanobacterial heterocysts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology in Cyanobacteria)
Open AccessEditorial Extreme-Fungi and the Benefits of A Stressing Life
Received: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
A stress-free condition is considered for humans to be related to relaxation or happiness [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungi from Extreme Environments)
Life EISSN 2075-1729 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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