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Title: Supramolecular polymerization of a prebiotic nucleoside provides insights into the creation of sequence-controlled polymers

The self-assembly of a nucleoside on Au(111) was studied to ascertain whether polymerization on well-defined substrates constitutes a promising approach for making sequence-controlled polymers. Scanning tunneling microscopy and density functional theory were used to investigate the self-assembly on Au(111) of (RS)-N9-(2,3-dihydroxypropyl)adenine (DHPA), a plausibly prebiotic nucleoside analog of adenosine. It is found that DHPA molecules self-assemble into a hydrogen-bonded polymer that grows almost exclusively along the herringbone reconstruction pattern, has a two component sequence that is repeated over hundreds of nanometers, and is erasable with electron-induced excitation. Although the sequence is simple, more complicated ones are envisioned if two or more nucleoside types are combined. Because polymerization occurs on a substrate in a dry environment, the success of each combination can be gauged with high-resolution imaging and accurate modeling techniques. The resulting characteristics make nucleoside self-assembly on a substrate an attractive approach for designing sequence-controlled polymers. Moreover, by choosing plausibly prebiotic nucleosides, insights may be provided into how nature created the first sequence-controlled polymers capable of storing information. Such insights, in turn, can inspire new ways of synthesizing sequence-controlled polymers.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Mexico; Autonomous Univ. of the State of Hidalgo (Mexico)
  3. Tokyo Inst. of Technology (Japan); Inst. for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (United States); Blue Marble Space Inst. of Science, Washington, DC (United States); Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Huazhong Univ. of Science and Technology, Wuhan (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States