July 1, 2022


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Les briques de base composant les protéines d'aujourd'hui étaient déjà présentes il y a plus de 3,8 milliards d'années. © JohanSwanepoel, Adobe Stock

The first bricks of life were already on Earth 3.8 billion years ago!

How did life and the first biological molecules emerge from the ancient prebiotic soup? A new study of original proteins goes a step further in understanding our origin.

The question of origin andOrigin Life on Earth has been around for a long time, a fundamental question that has not yet been resolved. How primitive life evolved “Ancient Soup” Completely mineralized, what formed the oceans 4 billion years ago?

The path to go Formation of molecules Can replicate itself as one of the great mysteries of biology. The foundations of this process may depend on it Peptides And this Protein. However, the fact that life cannot exist without the essential, central element seems to be the ability to manage energy. This is one of the definitions of life: the ability to store and use energy, whatever it may be.

Oxidation-reduction reactions based on life on Earth

However, the basic biological reactions that take place within cells are antioxidant-reduction reactions, which involve the exchange of electrons, thereby providing the required energy. This observation suggests that oxidation-reduction reactions should have been one of the first functions to be obtained by all. The first forms of life. Understanding the molecular evolution responsible for the catalysis of oxidation-reduction reactions will help to unravel the mystery of the origin of life.

In this context of reactions involving the exchange of electrons, existence Metals Seems like an important point in the context. In fact, it appears that metals are the most effective chemical components in the exchange of electrons and that antioxidant-reducing reactions often involve them. Researchers at Rutgers University in the United States have shown an interest in the structure of metal-related proteins, suggesting that they may have been an excellent starting point for many organisms’ functions. These structures may even be the basis of the first biological functions in the early stagesThe evolution of life. A simple nucleus with essential energy function, which can then be diversified.

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The researchers therefore discovered the evolution of these specific proteins with metallic components. It appears that these proteins are formed Basic bricks Will be seen again and again. Furthermore, the arrangement of these basic maps shows that all of these proteins came from a single or very small number of ancestors.

Prefabricated blocks before assembly of the first proteins

Results of the study, published Scientific advances, Therefore suggests that the peptides that make up the original proteins should be used to facilitate the transfer of electrons, this action is absolutely essential for organisms. The basic elements for the required energy function, so they are widely reused and modified into different types of biological functions, which explains why we see the same structure in all the functions of organisms today.

However, peptides are formedAmino acids, I.e. these were already in the “old soup”. Researchers also say that the first biologically active peptides existed 3.8 billion years before the first group of proteins.

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