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Researchers find a missing component in effort to create primitive, synthetic cells
Date:11/28/2013

that, while citrate may be appropriate for creating artificial cells in a laboratory environment, which he and his team are pursuing, it probably would not have been present in sufficient quantities in the early earth. "We have shown there is at least one way to make RNA replication chemistry compatible with primitive, fatty-acid-based cell membranes, but this opens up new questions. Our current best guess is there must have been some sort of simple peptides that acted in a similar way to citrate, and finding such peptides is something we are working on now."

A co-recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contribution to the discovery of the enzyme telomerase, Szostak is a professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Adamala, who worked in Szostak's lab as part of her doctoral studies at Roma Tre University in Italy, is now a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study was supported, in part, by NASA Exobiology grant NNX07AJ09G.


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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