skip to main content

DOE PAGESDOE PAGES

Title: Foldamer hypothesis for the growth and sequence differentiation of prebiotic polymers

It is not known how life originated. It is thought that prebiotic processes were able to synthesize short random polymers. However, then, how do short-chain molecules spontaneously grow longer? Also, how would random chains grow more informational and become autocatalytic (i.e., increasing their own concentrations)? We study the folding and binding of random sequences of hydrophobic ( H) and polar ( P) monomers in a computational model. We find that even short hydrophobic polar ( HP) chains can collapse into relatively compact structures, exposing hydrophobic surfaces. In this way, they act as primitive versions of today’s protein catalysts, elongating other such HP polymers as ribosomes would now do. Such foldamer catalysts are shown to form an autocatalytic set, through which short chains grow into longer chains that have particular sequences. An attractive feature of this model is that it does not overconverge to a single solution; it gives ensembles that could further evolve under selection. This mechanism describes how specific sequences and conformations could contribute to the chemistry-to-biology (CTB) transition.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Stony Brook Univ., Stony Brook, NY (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 114; Journal Issue: 36; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; origin of life; HP model; biopolymers; autocatalytic sets
OSTI Identifier:
1399001

Guseva, Elizaveta, Zuckermann, Ronald N., and Dill, Ken A.. Foldamer hypothesis for the growth and sequence differentiation of prebiotic polymers. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1620179114.
Guseva, Elizaveta, Zuckermann, Ronald N., & Dill, Ken A.. Foldamer hypothesis for the growth and sequence differentiation of prebiotic polymers. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1620179114.
Guseva, Elizaveta, Zuckermann, Ronald N., and Dill, Ken A.. 2017. "Foldamer hypothesis for the growth and sequence differentiation of prebiotic polymers". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1620179114. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1399001.
@article{osti_1399001,
title = {Foldamer hypothesis for the growth and sequence differentiation of prebiotic polymers},
author = {Guseva, Elizaveta and Zuckermann, Ronald N. and Dill, Ken A.},
abstractNote = {It is not known how life originated. It is thought that prebiotic processes were able to synthesize short random polymers. However, then, how do short-chain molecules spontaneously grow longer? Also, how would random chains grow more informational and become autocatalytic (i.e., increasing their own concentrations)? We study the folding and binding of random sequences of hydrophobic (H) and polar (P) monomers in a computational model. We find that even short hydrophobic polar (HP) chains can collapse into relatively compact structures, exposing hydrophobic surfaces. In this way, they act as primitive versions of today’s protein catalysts, elongating other such HP polymers as ribosomes would now do. Such foldamer catalysts are shown to form an autocatalytic set, through which short chains grow into longer chains that have particular sequences. An attractive feature of this model is that it does not overconverge to a single solution; it gives ensembles that could further evolve under selection. This mechanism describes how specific sequences and conformations could contribute to the chemistry-to-biology (CTB) transition.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1620179114},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 36,
volume = 114,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {8}
}