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RNA aptamers that are able to complex free adenine have been isolated by a SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) procedure. The adenine binding site was revealed by sequence alignment for a prevalent cluster of aptamers, and its structure and interactions with adenine were probed by RNase digestion studies, lead cleavage,(More)
A fundamental problem in origins of life research is how the first polymers with the properties of nucleic acids were synthesized and incorporated into living systems on the prebiotic Earth. Here, we show that RNA-like polymers can be synthesized non-enzymatically from 5′-phosphate mononucleosides in salty environments. The polymers were identified and(More)
In our search for primitive RNA catalysts, we noticed that N6-ribosyl-adenine, a compound easily synthesized under presumed prebiotic conditions, has a free imidazole group. We showed that it is, as a catalyst, a potential analogue of histidine. Furthermore, among the chemical groups involved in protein catalysis, the imidazole ring of histidine has no(More)
The discovery of ribozymes strengthened the RNA world hypothesis, which assumes that these precursors of modern life both stored information and acted as catalysts. For the first time among extensive studies on ribozymes, we have investigated the influence of hydrostatic pressure on the hairpin ribozyme catalytic activity. High pressures are of interest(More)
Adenine-dependent hairpin ribozymes were isolated by in vitro selection from a degenerated hairpin ribozyme population. Two new adenine-dependent ribozymes catalyze their own reversible cleavage in the presence of free adenine. Both aptamers have Mg(2+) requirements for adenine-assisted cleavage similar to the wild-type hairpin ribozyme. Cleavage kinetics(More)
A biochemical world that would have existed before the contemporary DNA-RNA-Protein world, and baptized in 1986 «The RNA World» by Walter Gilbert (Gilbert, 1986), such a world had already been proposed during the preceding decades by Carl Woese, Francis By demonstrating the remarkable diversity of the RNA molecule, Molecular Biology proved these(More)
The hypothesis of an RNA-based origin of life, known as the "RNA world", is strongly affected by the hostile environmental conditions probably present in the early Earth. In particular, strong UV and X-ray radiations could have been a major obstacle to the formation and evolution of the first biomolecules. In 1951, J. D. Bernal first proposed that clay(More)
Upon heating a dry mixture of ribose and adenine, condensation products are formed. They were identified as isomers of N6-ribosyl-adenine (Fuller, Sanchez and Orgel, 1972). Due to the current interest in nucleotide analogs as potential constituents of primitive RNA catalysts, the products were further characterized by mass spectroscopy and proton NMR. Our(More)
Trapping malate dehydrogenase from the extremely halophilic archaeon Haloarcula marismortui in "dry" salt crystals protects the enzyme against thermal denaturation. Similar protection was not observed for the homologous mesophilic enzyme. In the case of transfer RNA molecules, high salt concentration plays a protective role against thermal degradation(More)