Nav: Home

A new, unified pathway for prebiotic RNA synthesis

October 03, 2019

Adding to support for the RNA world hypothesis, Sidney Becker and colleagues have presented what's not been shown before - a single chemical pathway that could generate both the purine and pyrimidine nucleosides, the key building blocks of RNA. This unified synthesis was possible because of an approach called "wet-dry" cycling, the authors say. Previously, the RNA world hypothesis has struggled to describe the contemporaneous formation of all Watson-Crick bases in a single pot. "Disparate prebiotic syntheses have been demonstrated for the two classes of RNA nucleosides...but no single geochemical scenario has been able to generate both," write Nicholas Hud and David Fialho in a related Perspective. The RNA World Hypothesis suggests that RNA was the first living substance on Earth and that it proliferated before the evolution of DNA and protein. While the properties of RNA make the RNA world conceptually plausible, a compatible prebiotic geochemical scenario capable of creating RNA precursors has been difficult to describe. Building upon previous research, which demonstrated a plausible pathway for purine synthesis, Becker et al. now show that pyrimidine nucleosides can also be synthesized under the same geochemical conditions. The results reveal hydroxylamine, which can form under plausible early-atmospheric conditions, as a key starting material in the synthetic pathway. Cycling between wet and dry conditions provides the environmental states required to complete the synthesis of each of the complementary nucleotides, the authors show. "Unlike volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts, events often proposed as drivers of prebiotic reactions, wet-dry cycles would have been regular events on all parts of exposed land of the prebiotic Earth," write Hud and Fialho. While the findings of the study offer a plausible solution to the formation of the Watson-Crick bases, the synthesis specifics of carbohydrates, which form the structural backbone of RNA, remain unclear, according to the authors.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Rna Articles:

New kind of CRISPR technology to target RNA, including RNA viruses like coronavirus
Researchers in the lab of Neville Sanjana, PhD, at the New York Genome Center and New York University have developed a new kind of CRISPR screen technology to target RNA.
Discovery of entirely new class of RNA caps in bacteria
The group of Dr. Hana Cahová of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS, in collaboration with scientists from the Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, has discovered an entirely new class of dinucleoside polyphosphate 5'RNA caps in bacteria and described the function of alarmones and their mechanism of function.
New RNA mapping technique shows how RNA interacts with chromatin in the genome
A group led by scientists from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) in Japan have developed a new method, RADICL-seq, which allows scientists to better understand how RNA interacts with the genome through chromatin--the structure in which the genome is organized.
Characterising RNA alterations in cancer
The largest and most comprehensive catalogue of cancer-specific RNA alterations reveals new insights into the cancer genome.
A new approach to reveal the multiple structures of RNA
The key of the extraordinary functionality of ribonucleic acid, better known as RNA, is a highly flexible and dynamic structure.
RNA modification -- Methylation and mopping up
Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have discovered a novel type of chemical modification in bacterial RNAs.
New RNA molecules may play a role in aging
Using a new sequencing method, this class of previously invisible RNA molecules were found to be abundantly expressed.
AI reveals nature of RNA-protein interactions
A deep learning tool could help in structure-based drug discovery.
Uncovering the principles behind RNA folding
Using high-throughput next-generation sequencing technology, Professor Julius Lucks found similarities in the folding tendencies among a family of RNA molecules called riboswitches, which play a pivotal role in gene expression.
A new, unified pathway for prebiotic RNA synthesis
Adding to support for the RNA world hypothesis, Sidney Becker and colleagues have presented what's not been shown before -- a single chemical pathway that could generate both the purine and pyrimidine nucleosides, the key building blocks of RNA.
More RNA News and RNA Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.