Special Issue "Assembly and Folding: Implications to Origins of Life"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Origin of Life".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Moran Frenkel-Pinter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
Interests: chemical evolution; peptide-nucleic acid interactions; proto-peptides; peptide self-assembly; systems chemistry; biotechnology; amyloidogenesis
Dr. Anton S. Petrov
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
Interests: origins of life; ribosome; evolution of proteins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Chemical evolution, i.e., evolution of chemical systems linked through a network of chemical reactions on the prebiotic Earth, gave rise to increasing levels of molecular complexity, and eventually to life as we know it. An important stage during chemical evolution was the formation of inter-connected molecular networks composed of small molecules and polymers that operated at both covalent and non-covalent levels to create three-dimensional architectures. Formation of polymers, their assembly, folding, and at later stages co-assembly of macromolecular complexes, were key innovations that allowed the emergent chemical systems to gain novel functions such as molecular memory, coding, and highly specialized catalytic activity.  In this broad-scope issue we aim to publish papers that highlight the assembly and folding of molecular systems in the context of the origins of life. Specifically, we welcome papers that discuss the potential transitions from prebiotic chemistry to early stages of extant biochemistry that are governed by assembly and folding of polymers and shorter oligomers, from small molecules to large macromolecular assemblies (such as the ribosome). We are interested in papers representing diverse fields, including chemistry, biology, bioinformatics, physics, and geochemistry, which illuminate potential emergent functions of the assembled systems. We invite contributions featuring both theoretical and experimental work that discuss how assembly and folding drove important transitions in evolution of molecular systems and how these transitions led to increasing levels of complexity.

Dr. Moran Frenkel-Pinter
Dr. Anton S. Petrov
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Dr. Anton S. Petrov
Dr. Moran Frenkel-Pinter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • self-assembly
  • amyloids
  • protein folding
  • macromolecular assemblies
  • origins of Life

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Article
The Mutational Robustness of the Genetic Code and Codon Usage in Environmental Context: A Non-Extremophilic Preference?
Life 2021, 11(8), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11080773 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 461
Abstract
The genetic code was evolved, to some extent, to minimize the effects of mutations. The effects of mutations depend on the amino acid repertoire, the structure of the genetic code and frequencies of amino acids in proteomes. The amino acid compositions of proteins [...] Read more.
The genetic code was evolved, to some extent, to minimize the effects of mutations. The effects of mutations depend on the amino acid repertoire, the structure of the genetic code and frequencies of amino acids in proteomes. The amino acid compositions of proteins and corresponding codon usages are still under selection, which allows us to ask what kind of environment the standard genetic code is adapted to. Using simple computational models and comprehensive datasets comprising genomic and environmental data from all three domains of Life, we estimate the expected severity of non-synonymous genomic mutations in proteins, measured by the change in amino acid physicochemical properties. We show that the fidelity in these physicochemical properties is expected to deteriorate with extremophilic codon usages, especially in thermophiles. These findings suggest that the genetic code performs better under non-extremophilic conditions, which not only explains the low substitution rates encountered in halophiles and thermophiles but the revealed relationship between the genetic code and habitat allows us to ponder on earlier phases in the history of Life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assembly and Folding: Implications to Origins of Life)
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