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Amyloid and the origin of life: self-replicating catalytic amyloids as prebiotic informational and protometabolic entities



Amyloid and the origin of life: self-replicating catalytic amyloids as prebiotic informational and protometabolic entities



Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 75(9): 1499-1507



A crucial stage in the origin of life was the emergence of the first molecular entity that was able to replicate, transmit information, and evolve on the early Earth. The amyloid world hypothesis posits that in the pre-RNA era, information processing was based on catalytic amyloids. The self-assembly of short peptides into β-sheet amyloid conformers leads to extraordinary structural stability and novel multifunctionality that cannot be achieved by the corresponding nonaggregated peptides. The new functions include self-replication, catalytic activities, and information transfer. The environmentally sensitive template-assisted replication cycles generate a variety of amyloid polymorphs on which evolutive forces can act, and the fibrillar assemblies can serve as scaffolds for the amyloids themselves and for ribonucleotides proteins and lipids. The role of amyloid in the putative transition process from an amyloid world to an amyloid-RNA-protein world is not limited to scaffolding and protection: the interactions between amyloid, RNA, and protein are both complex and cooperative, and the amyloid assemblages can function as protometabolic entities catalyzing the formation of simple metabolite precursors. The emergence of a pristine amyloid-based in-put sensitive, chiroselective, and error correcting information-processing system, and the evolvement of mutualistic networks were, arguably, of essential importance in the dynamic processes that led to increased complexity, organization, compartmentalization, and, eventually, the origin of life.

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Accession: 046508419

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PMID: 29550973

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-018-2797-9


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