Scientists Discover Missing Link Between Organic and Inorganic Life
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May 10, 2010

Scientists Discover Missing Link Between Organic and Inorganic Life

070917-alien-life_big Philosophers and scientists have argued about the origins of life from inorganic matter ever since Empedocles (430 B.C.) argued that every thing in the universe is made up of a combination of four eternal 'elements' or 'roots of all': earth, water, air, and fire, and that all change is explained by the arrangement and rearrangement of these four elements. Now, scientists have discovered that simple peptides can organize into bi-layer membranes. The finding suggests a “missing link” between the pre-biotic Earth’s chemical inventory and the organizational scaffolding essential to life.

“This is a boon to our understanding of large, structural assemblies of molecules,” says Emory Chemistry Chair David Lynn, who helped lead the effort, which were collaborations of the departments of chemistry, biology and physics. “We’ve proved that peptides can organize as bi-layers, and we’ve generated the first, real-time imaging of the self-assembly process. We can actually watch in real-time as these nano-machines make themselves.”

The ability to organize things within compartments and along surfaces underpins all of biology. From the bi-layer phospholipids of cell membranes to information-rich DNA helices, self-assembling arrays define the architecture of life.

“We’ve shown that peptides can form the kind of membranes needed to create long-range order,” says Emory University chemistry graduate student Seth Childers, lead author of the paper recently published by the German Chemical Society’s Angewandte Chemie. “What’s also interesting is that these peptide membranes may have the potential to function in a complex way, like a protein.”

Chemistry graduate student Yan Liang captured images of the peptides as they aggregated into molten globular structures, and self-assembled into bi-layer membranes. The results of that experiment were recently published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“In order to form nuclei, which become the templates for growth, the peptides first repel water,” says Liang, who is now an Emory post-doctoral fellow in neuroscience. “Once the peptides form the template, we can now see how they assemble from the outer edges.".

In addition to providing clues to the origins of life, the findings may shed light on protein assemblies related to Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and dozens of other serious ailments.

But while phospholipids and DNA are complicated molecules, peptides are composed of the simple amino acids that make up proteins. The Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated in 1953 that amino acids were likely to be present on the pre-biotic Earth, opening the question of whether simple peptides could achieve supra-molecular order.

To test how the hollow, tubular structure of peptides is organized, the researchers used specialized solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods that have been developed at Emory during the past decade.

Working with Anil Mehta, a chemistry post-doctoral fellow, Childers tagged one end of peptide chains with an NMR label, and then allowed them to assemble to see if the ends would interact. The result was a bi-layer membrane with inner and outer faces and an additional, buried layer that localized functionality within the interior.

“The peptide membranes combine the long-range structure of cell membranes with the local order of enzymes,” Childers said. “Now that we understand that peptide membranes are organized locally like a protein, we want to investigate whether they can function like a protein.”

The goal is to direct molecules to perform as catalysts and create long-range order. “We’d really like to understand how to build something from the bottom up,” Childers says. “How can we take atoms and make molecules? How can we get molecules that stick together to make nano-machines that will perform specific tasks?”

The research is part of “The Center for Chemical Evolution,” a center based at Emory and Georgia Tech, for integrated research, education and public outreach focused on the chemistry that may have led to the origin of life. The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy have funded the research.

Many groups studying the origins of life have focused on RNA, which is believed to have pre-dated living cells. But RNA is a much more complicated molecule than a peptide. “Our studies have now shown that, if you just add water, simple peptides access both the physical properties and the long-range molecular order that is critical to the origins of chemical evolution,” Childers says.

Casey Kazan 

Source: http://esciencecommons.blogspot.com/2010/04/peptides-may-hold-missing-link-to-life.html

Comments

That is some very amazing discovery.

cok şaşırtıcııı

An imponderable state beyond Photosynthesis, Electrochemical-energy & Quantum-entanglement is Piezophotonics -a dynamic-mechanism of Photons & Positrons at Work, a quantum-myriad configured by the exquisite Permutation & Combination of TITHONS

TITHONs -which are the building constituents for all of Quantum Beingness, design and dominate the Orderliness of the Cellular-world within Genomic-domain unto enzymes, peptides & all of amino acids, propagating their catering of 'Cosmic Efficacy & Tithonicity' for building inherent, intrinsic & innate quatitativity of a beingness for a particular Being. Corroboratively, what many call it as a Light Harvesting Dyanamics… untangling the Quantum-entanglements.

This encouraging pathway is a new-physics “Para-Physics” in nascency, which is indeed a distinct presents of ASTRAL SCIENCE postulated by a theory called "Cosmic Efficacy & Tithonicity" …and the same is an ELIXIR to Humankind.

Greeting...
CHARANJEET SINGH LAMBA
(gnosiologist : exegete : astral'scientist)

What is "inorganic" doing in the headline, and the lead?

C.S. Lamba's comments are beyond me as i do not aware the branch of Paraphysics that he mentions. However, i know that ancient Indian literature over 5000 years back when the Great authors believed in looking deep inside to know what is the Universe outside, postulated not four but five basic elements. The missing fifth one was called " AKASH " meaning Physics-wise a non-material entity. It may be termed as life force or consciousness in todays terminology. It is supposed to pervade fully the other four elements as also the parts of the universe that contain no matter Physics-wise! It is this element which basically may have existed even before the Big Bang that generated the Universe out the four visible elements mentioned. Even till today, science has not deciphered what existed before, as that element is not open to scientific methodology developed thus far! Nothingness has the secret for everything as silence is supposed to contain all possible thoughts. Hail The Creator who should not be likened to be a super-human, as he not material. He may be likened closest to the concept of Immense Potential Unified Field, that has given rise to what we call the four type of force fields in Physics today, viz., gravity, strong nuclear, electromagnetic and weak nuclear. These emerged sequentially in nature when the universe was born, as per the logic of evolution of the Universe. Thus, that field also possessed intelligence to design the Universe in the way we have been able to decipher now through Physical cosmology studies.

Astral Science extrapolates to explicate...

- Science is Knowledge of the Known ; Knowledge of the Unknown is God.
- Mathematics is the esoteric mother of Science ; whilst mystic father is Myth.

In compendium, the relation between the Mind and the Objective-world (matter) is called as Para`Physics, whereas the relation between the Mind and the meta-subjective world (consciousness) is called as Omnijectivism. The combo of both is the arena of Astral Science.

Fabrica of Cosmos is all because of the reticulation (network) of Space-Time web as a arcane weave of Tithons, the source element of all energy that dominates the orderliness of cosmic efficacy and tithonicity through its permutation and combination.

The most imponderable state of quark-gluon plasma that serves to augment all of dynamic mechanism weaving the Reticulation to configures and conform all of the Cosmos unto Global truths, a para-being of thermal valuity hosting source of energy, is postulated as Tithons`

Quadri-morphic PHOTON, having in-formation of Heat (californium) Electric (waves), Light (frequency) & Tithonic (chemical-action) as vibrational energy... is the progeny of TITHONS.

Permutation & Combination of Tithons as One Unit to Work is an ERGON, that interminably beget a working quantum unit of dimorphic element known as ERG (unit of work as Joule) and DYNE (unit of work as Newton) having its prolificacy as processed unit of working as ERGY... which in turn host the quadri-morphic role of Calorie (heat), Ampere (electric), Candela (light-luminous) and Molecule (chemical-compound).

The source of energy `Tithons` that are working hue in light do propagate the process to augment & generate the chemical building blocks at quantum state of astral-fluid for making all of cells and cellular-world, including amino acids for making proteins, fats for cell membranes and nucleotides to build a genome, and the cellular-world into all of extant human…

Greeting...
CHARANJEET SINGH LAMBA
(gnosiologist : astral'scientist)

Knowledge of the unknown is logically impossible. Thanks for playing "Who's the sloppy thinker."


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