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Protein First vs RNA First - 10 Amino Acids

slo1
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4/5/2013 10:27:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
http://www.sciencedaily.com...

How Life May Have First Emerged On Earth: Foldable Proteins in a High-Salt Environment

Apr. 4, 2013 " A structural biologist at the Florida State University College of Medicine has made discoveries that could lead scientists a step closer to understanding how life first emerged on Earth billions of years ago.

Professor Michael Blaber and his team produced data supporting the idea that 10 amino acids believed to exist on Earth around 4 billion years ago were capable of forming foldable proteins in a high-salt (halophile) environment. Such proteins would have been capable of providing metabolic activity for the first living organisms to emerge on the planet between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago.

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"The current paradigm on the emergence of life is that RNA came first and in a high-temperature environment," Blaber said. "The data we are generating are much more in favor of a protein-first view in a halophile environment."
The widely accepted view among scientists is that RNA, found in all living cells, would have likely represented the first molecules of life, hypothesizing an "RNA-first" view of the origin of living systems from non-living molecules. Blaber's results indicate that the set of amino acids produced by simple chemical processes contains the requisite information to produce complex folded proteins, which supports an opposing "protein-first" view.

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Without the ability to fold, proteins would not be able to form the precise structures essential for functions that sustain life as we know it. Folding allows proteins to take on a globular shape through which they can interact with other proteins, perform specific chemical reactions, and adapt to enable organisms to exploit a given environment.

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Comet and meteorite fragments, like those that recently struck in the Urals region of Russia, have provided evidence regarding the arrival of amino acids on Earth

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His team has achieved foldability in proteins down to 12 amino acids -- about 80 percent of the way to proving his hypothesis.
If Blaber's theory holds, scientists may refocus where they look for evidence in the quest to understand where, and how, life began.

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slo1
Posts: 4,330
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4/5/2013 10:32:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
It will be very interesting how this can change the abergenisis discussion if he can complete the remaining 20% with positive results.

Just on an intuitive basis initial "life" probably looked nothing like what we would imagine, just like using today's dictionary is nothing like one 2,000 years ago.