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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 building blocks of life were already on Earth more than 3.8 billion years ago!

How did life and the first biological molecules originate from the primordial prebiotic soup? A new study on native proteins takes a small step forward in understanding our origins.

The question of origins andAppearance of Life on Earth has always been, and remains, a fundamental unresolved question. How did primitive life arise? “Primitive soup” Purely metal, what did the oceans form 4 billion years ago?

The road to Molecular composition The ability to self-replicate remains one of the biggest mysteries in biology. The basis for this process can be based on Peptides and the protein. However, it seems that the fundamental and central element without which life cannot exist is the ability to manage energy. This is one of the definitions of life: the ability to collect and use energy, whatever it is.

Oxidation and reduction reactions based on life on Earth

However, the primary biological reactions that occur within living cells are redox reactions that involve the transfer of electrons, thus providing the necessary energy. This observation indicates that oxidation-reduction reactions must be among the first functions acquired by all The first forms of life. Thus, understanding the molecular evolution responsible for catalyzing oxidation-reduction reactions can help unravel the mystery of the origin of life.

In this context of interactions involving the transfer of electrons, the presence of metal In the environment seems to be an important point. In fact, metals are the most effective electron-transporting chemical elements and oxidation-reduction reactions often appear to be involved. So researchers at Rutgers University in the United States were interested in the structures of metal-bound proteins, assuming that they would be an excellent starting point for many of the functions of living organisms. These structures could be the basis for the first biological functions during the early stages oflife evolution. A simple idea has a basic energy function which can later be varied.

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So the researchers traced the evolution of these particular proteins that contain metallic elements. These proteins appear to consist of base bricks that are frequently found. Moreover, the arrangements of these basic patterns show that these proteins all descend from one or a very small number of ancestors.

Building blocks exist before the first proteins are assembled

The results of the study were published in science progress, therefore we suggest that the peptides that make up the original proteins should be used to facilitate the transfer of electrons, this step is absolutely necessary for living organisms. Elements that are fundamental to necessary energy function, so they could have been widely reused and adapted in a variety of biological functions, which explains why today we find a similar structure in all the functions of living organisms.

However, peptides consist ofamino acids, which means that it was already present in the Primordial Soup. The researchers also suggest that the first peptides with biological functions already existed before the first proteins were synthesized, 3.8 billion years ago.

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