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Mineral surface-templated self-assembling systems: case studies from nanoscience and surface science towards origins of life research

Mineral surface-templated self-assembling systems: case studies from nanoscience and surface science towards origins of life research
Mineral surface-templated self-assembling systems: case studies from nanoscience and surface science towards origins of life research

An increasing body of evidence relates the wide range of benefits mineral surfaces offer for the development of early living systems, including adsorption of small molecules from the aqueous phase, formation of monomeric subunits and their subsequent polymerization, and supramolecular assembly of biopolymers and other biomolecules. Each of these processes was likely a necessary stage in the emergence of life on Earth. Here, we compile evidence that templating and enhancement of prebiotically-relevant self-assembling systems by mineral surfaces offers a route to increased structural, functional, and/or chemical complexity. This increase in complexity could have been achieved by early living systems before the advent of evolvable systems and would not have required the generally energetically unfavorable formation of covalent bonds such as phosphodiester or peptide bonds. In this review we will focus on various case studies of prebiotically-relevant mineral-templated self-assembling systems, including supramolecular assemblies of peptides and nucleic acids, from nanoscience and surface science. These fields contain valuable information that is not yet fully being utilized by the origins of life and astrobiology research communities. Some of the self-assemblies that we present can promote the formation of new mineral surfaces, similar to biomineralization, which can then catalyze more essential prebiotic reactions; this could have resulted in a symbiotic feedback loop by which geology and primitive pre-living systems were closely linked to one another even before life’s origin. We hope that the ideas presented herein will seed some interesting discussions and new collaborations between nanoscience/surface science researchers and origins of life/astrobiology researchers.

Nanoscience, Origins of life, Prebiotic chemistry, Self-assembly, Surface science
1420-682X
Gillams, Richard J.
89341fe4-db94-4d27-a5be-c092e2e8de5b
Jia, Tony Z.
f05b8352-0691-464f-b955-a2becdef5b7c
Gillams, Richard J.
89341fe4-db94-4d27-a5be-c092e2e8de5b
Jia, Tony Z.
f05b8352-0691-464f-b955-a2becdef5b7c

Gillams, Richard J. and Jia, Tony Z. (2018) Mineral surface-templated self-assembling systems: case studies from nanoscience and surface science towards origins of life research. Life, 8 (2), [10]. (doi:10.3390/life8020010).

Record type: Review

Abstract

An increasing body of evidence relates the wide range of benefits mineral surfaces offer for the development of early living systems, including adsorption of small molecules from the aqueous phase, formation of monomeric subunits and their subsequent polymerization, and supramolecular assembly of biopolymers and other biomolecules. Each of these processes was likely a necessary stage in the emergence of life on Earth. Here, we compile evidence that templating and enhancement of prebiotically-relevant self-assembling systems by mineral surfaces offers a route to increased structural, functional, and/or chemical complexity. This increase in complexity could have been achieved by early living systems before the advent of evolvable systems and would not have required the generally energetically unfavorable formation of covalent bonds such as phosphodiester or peptide bonds. In this review we will focus on various case studies of prebiotically-relevant mineral-templated self-assembling systems, including supramolecular assemblies of peptides and nucleic acids, from nanoscience and surface science. These fields contain valuable information that is not yet fully being utilized by the origins of life and astrobiology research communities. Some of the self-assemblies that we present can promote the formation of new mineral surfaces, similar to biomineralization, which can then catalyze more essential prebiotic reactions; this could have resulted in a symbiotic feedback loop by which geology and primitive pre-living systems were closely linked to one another even before life’s origin. We hope that the ideas presented herein will seed some interesting discussions and new collaborations between nanoscience/surface science researchers and origins of life/astrobiology researchers.

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Accepted/In Press date: 3 May 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 May 2018
Published date: 1 June 2018
Keywords: Nanoscience, Origins of life, Prebiotic chemistry, Self-assembly, Surface science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 434259
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/434259
ISSN: 1420-682X
PURE UUID: 2f12bac9-37e3-426e-bd02-14d442c98aee
ORCID for Richard J. Gillams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8597-8723

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Date deposited: 18 Sep 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:15

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