Document Detail

Exploring the evolution of standard amino-acid alphabet: when genomics meets thermodynamics.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17543275     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
One of the most intriguing aspects of life is that despite the diversified apparent shapes, similar building blocks and infrastructures, such as standard amino acids and canonical genetic codes, are shared by most life on Earth. Thus, it is challenging to explore: why nature just selects these building blocks and strategies from numerous candidates to construct life? Was this deterministic or fortuitous? Thanks to the rapid progress in genomics, bioinformatics and synthetic biology, more and more basic principles underlying life design and construction were disclosed in the past decade. However, since the origin of early life is substantially a chemical process, to understand the enigma of life origin, chemists' efforts can not be neglected. In this paper, we focus on the evolution of standard amino-acid alphabet and indicate that chemistry, especially thermodynamics, is indeed critical to understanding the forming mechanisms of amino-acid alphabet. It is revealed that nature prefers low free energy and thus ubiquitous (cheap) small amino acids when beginning to build life, which is compatible with many recent findings from genomics and bioinformatics.
Hong-Yu Zhang
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review     Date:  2007-05-25
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biochemical and biophysical research communications     Volume:  359     ISSN:  0006-291X     ISO Abbreviation:  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.     Publication Date:  2007 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-06-18     Completed Date:  2007-08-07     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372516     Medline TA:  Biochem Biophys Res Commun     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  403-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Shandong Provincial Research Center for Bioinformatic Engineering and Technique, Center for Advanced Study, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo 255049, PR China.
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MeSH Terms
Amino Acids / chemistry*,  genetics*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Amino Acids

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