Research & Activities

ELSI Seminar

ELSI Colloquium

December 8, 2017

ELSI-1 Building - 102 ELSI Hall

Title: Common Chemistry for RNA and Amino Acid Polymerization

Speaker:Dr. Albert Fahrenbach (ELSI, Associate PI)

RNA nucleotides activated with imidazoles have been routinely used for model (nonenzymatic) prebiotic polymerization and replication reactions as a result of their greater reactivity in comparison to the biological nucleoside triphosphates. Our recent work on the development of a prebiotically plausible synthesis for these so-called ribonucleoside 5′-phosphorimidazolides, which relies on the reaction of cyanide anion with hypochlorous acid, will be presented. Incidentally, we discovered that this same chemistry can rapidly dimerize amino acids in water. This common chemistry for RNA activation and amino acid dimerization offers a promising way forward toward developing a potentially prebiotic protocol that can enable both the one-pot synthesis of oligo RNA and peptides.