According to LMU scientists led by Thomas Carroll, a unique chemical component consisting of RNA and peptides is rapidly transforming the evolution of life into sophisticated forms.
One of the most fascinating challenges in science is knowing how life on Earth would have evolved so long ago. What conditions were required for the emergence of the basic building blocks of more complex life? One of the key possibilities is the so-called RNA universe theory, proposed by Walter Gilbert, a pioneer of molecular biology, in 1986. According to this idea, nucleotides – nucleic acids A, C, G, and U – are the basic building blocks. Formed in the initial soup and used to make short RNA molecules.
As a result, single-stranded RNA molecules can combine to form a double strand, creating the theoretical possibility that the molecules can reproduce themselves. In each instance, only two nucleotides coexist, indicating that one strand is in direct opposition to the other and thus acts as a template for the other.
This copy could have improved over time, resulting in a more sophisticated life at some point. As Thomas Carell of the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich explains, Molecules can form. ” The double strand of DNA, a slightly modified, durable type of macromolecule containing nucleotides, forms the genetic material as we know it today.
However, the assumption is not without flaws. RNS, for example, is a fragile molecule, especially when it is elongated. Furthermore, it is not clear how RNA molecules are linked to the world of proteins, for which the genetic material, as we all know, provides a blueprint. According to a new study published in Nature, Kerala’s working group has indicated the possibility of this relationship.
To understand, we must examine RNA in more detail. RNA is a complex macromolecule in itself. It has non-canonical bases, some of which have very strange structures, as well as four canonical bases A, C, G, and U, which contain genetic information.
These non-information coding nucleotides are important for the proper functioning of RNA molecules. We now know of over 120 different modified RNA nucleosides that nature incorporates into RNA molecules. They are almost certainly traces of the previous RNA world.
The Carol Group has now established that these non-canonical nucleosides are the “secret component” that allows the world of RNA and proteins to interact with each other. According to Carol, some of these molecular fossils may “adorn” themselves with individual amino acids or their small chains (peptides) when found in RNA.
When amino acids or peptides are present in the RNA solution at the same time, small chimeric RNA-peptide structures are formed. In such a structure, RNA-linked amino acids and peptides later react with each other to form larger and more complex peptides. “We were able to create RNA peptide particles in the lab that could encode genetic information and even generate peptide lengtheners in this process,” said the researcher.
As a result, ancient fossil nucleosides resemble RNA nuclei, forming a core around which long peptide chains can grow. Peptides were even being developed in several places on some RNA strands. “It was a very unexpected discovery,” says Carroll. As such, the concept of the RNA world must be extended to include the RNA peptide world.
According to the new interpretation, the availability of RNA molecules that can adorn themselves with amino acids and peptides and therefore combine them into larger peptide structures was an important feature in the beginning. “RNA has evolved over time as a catalyst for a better amino acid binding.
This link between RNA and peptides, or proteins, remains intact to this day,” says Carell. Is one of the body’s most complex RNA engines, and is responsible for converting genetic information into active proteins in each cell. Carol claims that “the range of RNA peptides thus solves the chicken and egg problem.”