2022-01-15

Scientists have made profound discoveries about the origin of life on earth

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b77f32c764865c1 - Scientists have made profound discoveries about the origin of life on earth

researchers have explored how primitive life may have originated on our planet from simple, non living materials. They asked what attributes define life as we know it, and concluded that any living thing needs to collect and use energy from sources such as the sun or hydrothermal vents

in terms of molecules, this will mean that the ability to “wash” electrons is the primary condition of life. Since the best element for electron transfer is metal, and most biological activities are carried out by proteins, the researchers decided to explore the combination of the two – that is, metal bound proteins

they compared the protein structures of all existing metal binding proteins to determine any common features, on the premise that these common features existed in the proteins of ancestors and were diversified and inherited, creating a series of proteins we see today

Scientists have made profound discoveries about the origin of life on earth

the evolution of protein structure needs to understand how new folds are generated from pre-existing folds. Therefore, researchers designed a calculation method and found that the vast majority of metal binding proteins are similar to some extent, regardless of the type of metal they bind, what organism they come from or the function they give to the whole protein

“we see that the metal binding core of existing proteins is indeed similar, even if the protein itself may not be,” said the main author of the study Yana Bromberg, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and microbiology at Rutgers University New Brunswick, said: “We also see that these metal binding cores are often composed of repeated substructures, which is a bit like Lego building blocks. Strangely, these’building blocks’ are also found in other regions of proteins, not only in metal binding cores, but also in many other proteins not considered in our research. Our observations show that these’ small building blocks’ can be reconstructed The arrangement may have one or a few common ancestors and produced all the proteins currently available and their functions – that is, life as we know it. ”

Bromberg said: “we have very little information about how life on this planet is produced, and our work provides an explanation that has not been provided before.” His research focuses on deciphering the DNA blueprint of the molecular mechanism of life. “This explanation may also help us find life on other planets and planetary bodies. Our discovery of specific structural components may also be related to the efforts of synthetic biology, in which scientists aim to reconstruct specific active proteins.”