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Scientists identify molecule that could have helped cells survive and thrive on early Earth



 Scientists identify molecule that could have helped cells survive and thrive on early Earth
"Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry at." Said: "Protocells would have been the ancestors of cells today, if you will." Scripps Research. "They did not have the full functionality of modern cells, but they had the precursor behavior to lay the foundation for what came afterward.". Credit: The Scripps Research Institute
            

To truly understand how the body works and improve human health, researchers need to break the blocks of our cells. But as scientists continue to make breakthroughs in cellular biology, on important question lingers: How did it happen?
                                               

A new study, led by Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, Ph.D., of Scripps Research, and Sheref Mansy, Ph.D., of the University of Trento, offers an explanation of how "protocells" could have emerged on early Earth , eventually leading to the cells we know today. Small suggested that molecules called cyclophospholipids may have been used in the process of preparing protocells to form important internal structures called vesicles.

"Protocells would If you want to, "says Krishnamurthy, an associate professor of chemistry at Scripps Research.

Krishnamurthy is a member of the Simon's Collaboration on the Origins of Life and Holds a Joint Appointment with the Center for Chemical Evolution, co-funded by the NASA Astrobiology Program and the National Science Foundation. Like many in his field, Krishnamurthy is curious about how early vesicles would have worked.

Cells today teem with different molecules and chemical reactions, but protocells would have been much simpler, like vesicles.

Eventually, thanks to vesicles, protocells could have Divided into more and more generations of prototypes, the new study offers a solution to the puzzle of how to do it.

"Fatty acid vesicles just do not survive many of the conditions found on the Earth, and certainly out of biological-like molecules, "says Mansy.

Researchers had never before used cyclophospholipids to form vesicles, but in 201

8, Krishnamurthy's laboratory published a Nature Chemistry [1965914]

After demonstrating that cyclophospholipids could have existed in life's early days, the researchers set out to see if the molecules could help protocells build vesicles. "Krishnamurthy says."

It turned out to be surprisingly stable. They are up to a range of physical and chemical conditions than fatty acid vesicles, including changes in pH. In fact, the new discovery suggesting cyclophospholipids could be the ideal foundation for the vesicles that allowed protocells to evolve. "

" Professor Krishnamurthy's work with prebiotic phosphorylation has shown great promise in helping us to at

The researchers are now gearing up to run cyclophospholipid vesicles through even more stringency tests, answering deeper questions.

The study, "Cyclophospholipids Increase Protocellular Stability to Metal Ions", also included first author Ö. Duhan Toparlak of the University of Trento; and Mega Karki and Veronica Egas Ortuno of Scripps Research.
                                                                                                                        


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More information:
Ö. Duhan Toparlak et al, Cyclophospholipids Increase Protocellular Stability to Metal Ions, Small (2019). DOI: 10.1002 / smll.201903381

Provided by
The Scripps Research Institute




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                                                 Scientists identify molecule that could have helped cells survive and thrive on early Earth (2019, October 9)
                                                 retrieved 9 October 2019
                                                 from https://phys.org/news/2019-10-scientists-molecule-cells-surviveand-thriveon.html
                                            

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