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How do nucleotides adsorb onto clays?

DOI: 10.3390/life8040059 DOI Help

Authors: Ulysse Pedreira-segade (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) , Jihua Hao (Université Lyon 1) , Angelina Razafitianamaharavo (CNRS-Université de Lorraine) , Manuel Pelletier (CNRS-Université de Lorraine) , Virginie Marry (Sorbonne Université/CNRS UMR 8234) , Sébastien Le Crom (Sorbonne Université/CNRS UMR 8234) , Laurent Michot (Sorbonne Université/CNRS UMR 8234) , Isabelle Daniel (Université Lyon 1)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Life , VOL 8

State: Published (Approved)
Published: November 2018
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 14946

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Adsorption of prebiotic building blocks is proposed to have played a role in the emergence of life on Earth. The experimental and theoretical study of this phenomenon should be guided by our knowledge of the geochemistry of the habitable early Earth environments, which could have spanned a large range of settings. Adsorption being an interfacial phenomenon, experiments can be built around the minerals that probably exhibited the largest specific surface areas and were the most abundant, i.e., phyllosilicates. Our current work aims at understanding how nucleotides, the building blocks of RNA and DNA, might have interacted with phyllosilicates under various physico-chemical conditions. We carried out and refined batch adsorption studies to explore parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity, etc. We built a comprehensive, generalized model of the adsorption mechanisms of nucleotides onto phyllosilicate particles, mainly governed by phosphate reactivity. More recently, we used surface chemistry and geochemistry techniques, such as vibrational spectroscopy, low pressure gas adsorption, X-ray microscopy, and theoretical simulations, in order to acquire direct data on the adsorption configurations and localization of nucleotides on mineral surfaces. Although some of these techniques proved to be challenging, questioning our ability to easily detect biosignatures, they confirmed and complemented our pre-established model.

Journal Keywords: adsorption; phyllosilicates; origins of life; geochemistry; surface chemistry

Subject Areas: Earth Science, Chemistry


Instruments: I08-Scanning X-ray Microscopy beamline (SXM)