Chiral Sugars Drive Enantioenrichment in Prebiotic Amino Acid Synthesis


Chiral pentose sugars mediate the enantioselective synthesis of amino acid precursors, with the magnitude of the chiral induction dictated by a subtle cooperativity between sugar hydroxyl groups. Ribose and lyxose give opposite chiral preferences, and theoretical calculations reveal the pseudoenantiomeric nature of transition state structures from the two sugars. Prebiotically plausible mixtures of natural d-sugars lead to enantioenrichment of natural l-amino acid precursors. Temporal monitoring and kinetic modeling of the reaction reveal an unusual dynamic kinetic resolution that shifts toward an enantioselective pathway over time, providing an amplification mechanism for the transfer of chiral information. This work adds to growing evidence for synergy in the etiology of the single chirality of the two most important classes of biological molecules, the sugars that make up DNA and RNA and the amino acids that form proteins.

DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00085

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Wagner2017ChiralSD, title={Chiral Sugars Drive Enantioenrichment in Prebiotic Amino Acid Synthesis}, author={Alexander J. Wagner and Dmitry Yu. Zubarev and Al{\'a}n Aspuru-Guzik and Donna G Blackmond}, booktitle={ACS central science}, year={2017} }