Document Detail

A hypothesis on the role of pressure in the origin of life.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  6438407     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The necessity for long time spans in models on the origin of life leads to a major difficulty in that under the environmental conditions existing today biological macromolecules are inherently unstable. The present hypothesis suggests that life arose under a set of environmental conditions whereby polymerization was thermodynamically favored. In particular, increased pressure when coupled with low water activity and high temperature should stabilize polymer bond formation. Three implications of this pressure stabilization theory are presented: (1) The necessary conditions for stabilization are similar to some of the ecological niches occupied by representatives of the archaebacteria. It is suggested that the harsh and unusual habitats of the archaebacteria reflect in part prebiotic environmental conditions. (2) Biological optical activity would be generated if, for instance, L-L peptide bonds were stabilized to a greater degree than L-D peptide bonds. This type of selective stabilization would provide for the maintenance of molecular asymmetry as well as the creation of molecular asymmetry. (3) Conditions necessary for generating the requisite pressure may concurrently have provided protection from prebiotic ultraviolet radiation.
K W Nickerson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of theoretical biology     Volume:  110     ISSN:  0022-5193     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Theor. Biol.     Publication Date:  1984 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1985-01-14     Completed Date:  1985-01-14     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376342     Medline TA:  J Theor Biol     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  487-99     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
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MeSH Terms
Models, Biological*
Protein Denaturation
Ultraviolet Rays
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Biopolymers; 0/Peptides; 7732-18-5/Water

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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