Cyanobacteria Produce N-(2-Aminoethyl)Glycine, a Backbone for Peptide Nucleic Acids Which May Have Been the First Genetic Molecules for Life on Earth
2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 11, e49043- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Prior to the evolution of DNA-based organisms on earth over 3.5 billion years ago it is hypothesized that RNA was the primary genetic molecule. Before RNA-based organisms arose, peptide nucleic acids may have been used to transmit genetic information by the earliest forms of life on earth. We discovered that cyanobacteria produce N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine (AEG), a backbone for peptide nucleic acids. We detected AEG in axenic strains of cyanobacteria with an average concentration of 1 µg/g. We also detected AEG in environmental samples of cyanobacteria as both a free or weakly bound molecule and a tightly bound form released by acid hydrolysis, at concentrations ranging from not detected to 34 µg/g. The production of AEG by diverse taxa of cyanobacteria suggests that AEG may be a primitive feature which arose early in the evolution of life on earth
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, no 11, e49043- p.
Research subject Analytical Chemistry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83939DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049043ISI: 000311935800191OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83939DiVA: diva2:577814