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  Catalysts, autocatalysis and the origin of metabolism

Preiner, M., Xavier, J. C., Vieira, A. d. N., Kleinermanns, K., Allen, J. F., & Martin, W. F. (2019). Catalysts, autocatalysis and the origin of metabolism. INTERFACE FOCUS, 9(6): 20190072. doi:10.1098/rsfs.2019.0072.

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 Creators:
Preiner, Martina1, Author                 
Xavier, Joana C.2, Author
Vieira, Andrey do Nascimento2, Author
Kleinermanns, Karl2, Author
Allen, John F.2, Author
Martin, William F.2, Author
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1Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2external, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: If life on Earth started out in geochemical environments like hydrothermal vents, then it started out from gasses like CO2, N-2 and H-2. Anaerobic autotrophs still live from these gasses today, and they still inhabit the Earth's crust. In the search for connections between abiotic processes in ancient geological systems and biotic processes in biological systems, it becomes evident that chemical activation (catalysis) of these gasses and a constant source of energy are key. The H-2-CO2 redox reaction provides a constant source of energy and anabolic inputs, because the equilibrium lies on the side of reduced carbon compounds. Identifying geochemical catalysts that activate these gasses en route to nitrogenous organic compounds and small autocatalytic networks will be an important step towards understanding prebiotic chemistry that operates only on the basis of chemical energy, without input from solar radiation. So, if life arose in the dark depths of hydrothermal vents, then understanding reactions and catalysts that operate under such conditions is crucial for understanding origins.

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 Dates: 2019
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: ISI: 000511944600010
DOI: 10.1098/rsfs.2019.0072
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Title: INTERFACE FOCUS
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 9 (6) Sequence Number: 20190072 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2042-8898