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Abiotic synthesis of amino acids and self-crystallization under prebiotic conditions.

Jiang L, Dziedzic P, Spacil Z, Zhao GL, Nilsson L, Ilag LL, Córdova A - Sci Rep (2014)

Bottom Line: Building on previous research on the origin and homochirality of life, this study focuses on analyses profiling important building blocks of life: the natural amino acids.Re-crystallization of the synthetic products and enantiomeric ratio analysis were subsequently performed.The formation of numerous amino acids in the electric discharge experiment and the occurrence of high enantiomeric ratios of amino acids in re-crystallization experiment give valuable implications for future studies in unraveling fundamental questions regarding origins and evolution of life.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
Building on previous research on the origin and homochirality of life, this study focuses on analyses profiling important building blocks of life: the natural amino acids. The spark discharge variation of the iconic Miller experiment was performed with a reducing gas mixture of ammonia, methane, water and hydrogen. Amino acid analysis using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry after pre-column derivatizaiton revealed the generation of several amino acids including those essential for life. Re-crystallization of the synthetic products and enantiomeric ratio analysis were subsequently performed. Results from liquid chromatography coupled with either fluorescent detector or tandem mass spectrometry after pre-column derivatization with chiral reagent revealed spontaneous and effective asymmetric resolution of serine and alanine. This work describes a useful analytical platform for investigation of hypotheses regarding the origin and homochirality of amino acids under prebiotic conditions. The formation of numerous amino acids in the electric discharge experiment and the occurrence of high enantiomeric ratios of amino acids in re-crystallization experiment give valuable implications for future studies in unraveling fundamental questions regarding origins and evolution of life.

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Relative abundance (in mol) of amino acids in the collected condensed solution of the sample A: (a) “prebiotic” mixture; (b) electrical discharge mixture.
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f3: Relative abundance (in mol) of amino acids in the collected condensed solution of the sample A: (a) “prebiotic” mixture; (b) electrical discharge mixture.

Mentions: We performed our experiments in a “Miller apparatus” using spark discharge and a gas mixture of ammonia, methane, water and hydrogen continuously for three or seven days to get sample A and B respectively. Each sample contained two phases: one is the “prebiotic” mixture in the bottom flask; another one is the electrical discharge mixture in the top flask as shown in Fig. S1. In all cases, numerous organic molecules were assembled as determined by LDI-TOF MS (Fig. 2). Both samples were subjected to amino acid analysis by LC-MS/MS after derivatization with AQC reagent. In sample A, a total of 15 natural amino acids and two non-natural amino acids were identified by UHPLC-MS/MS (Fig. 3). In sample B, a total of 17 natural amino acids and seven non-natural amino acids/amines were identified by HPLC-MS/MS (Table S1). Among them 16, natural and two non-natural amino acids are chiral and their relative abundances are shown in Fig. 4. These results revealed that numerous amino acids could be abiotically synthesized under early earth conditions.


Abiotic synthesis of amino acids and self-crystallization under prebiotic conditions.

Jiang L, Dziedzic P, Spacil Z, Zhao GL, Nilsson L, Ilag LL, Córdova A - Sci Rep (2014)

Relative abundance (in mol) of amino acids in the collected condensed solution of the sample A: (a) “prebiotic” mixture; (b) electrical discharge mixture.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4209460&req=5

f3: Relative abundance (in mol) of amino acids in the collected condensed solution of the sample A: (a) “prebiotic” mixture; (b) electrical discharge mixture.
Mentions: We performed our experiments in a “Miller apparatus” using spark discharge and a gas mixture of ammonia, methane, water and hydrogen continuously for three or seven days to get sample A and B respectively. Each sample contained two phases: one is the “prebiotic” mixture in the bottom flask; another one is the electrical discharge mixture in the top flask as shown in Fig. S1. In all cases, numerous organic molecules were assembled as determined by LDI-TOF MS (Fig. 2). Both samples were subjected to amino acid analysis by LC-MS/MS after derivatization with AQC reagent. In sample A, a total of 15 natural amino acids and two non-natural amino acids were identified by UHPLC-MS/MS (Fig. 3). In sample B, a total of 17 natural amino acids and seven non-natural amino acids/amines were identified by HPLC-MS/MS (Table S1). Among them 16, natural and two non-natural amino acids are chiral and their relative abundances are shown in Fig. 4. These results revealed that numerous amino acids could be abiotically synthesized under early earth conditions.

Bottom Line: Building on previous research on the origin and homochirality of life, this study focuses on analyses profiling important building blocks of life: the natural amino acids.Re-crystallization of the synthetic products and enantiomeric ratio analysis were subsequently performed.The formation of numerous amino acids in the electric discharge experiment and the occurrence of high enantiomeric ratios of amino acids in re-crystallization experiment give valuable implications for future studies in unraveling fundamental questions regarding origins and evolution of life.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
Building on previous research on the origin and homochirality of life, this study focuses on analyses profiling important building blocks of life: the natural amino acids. The spark discharge variation of the iconic Miller experiment was performed with a reducing gas mixture of ammonia, methane, water and hydrogen. Amino acid analysis using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry after pre-column derivatizaiton revealed the generation of several amino acids including those essential for life. Re-crystallization of the synthetic products and enantiomeric ratio analysis were subsequently performed. Results from liquid chromatography coupled with either fluorescent detector or tandem mass spectrometry after pre-column derivatization with chiral reagent revealed spontaneous and effective asymmetric resolution of serine and alanine. This work describes a useful analytical platform for investigation of hypotheses regarding the origin and homochirality of amino acids under prebiotic conditions. The formation of numerous amino acids in the electric discharge experiment and the occurrence of high enantiomeric ratios of amino acids in re-crystallization experiment give valuable implications for future studies in unraveling fundamental questions regarding origins and evolution of life.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus