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The kinetics of oligopeptides formation in the flow systems glycine-sodium trimetaphosphate-imidazole/N-methylimidazole at thermocyclic regime has been investigated by HPLC and 31P NMR methods in the ranges of temperature from 45 to 90 °C and pH from 8.5 to 11.5. Detailed reaction mechanisms have been proposed and justified by quantum chemical calculations using DFT method at the CAM-B3LYP/TZVP level with accounting solvent effect by the C-PCM model. A new imidazole catalysis mechanism by which imidazole reacts with cyclic N,O-phosphoryl glycine giving N-imidazolyl-O-glycyl phosphate as a key intermediate was proposed and validated. It is emphasized that while in the absence of imidazoles, prebiotic activation of amino acids occurs at the N-terminus, in the presence of imidazoles it shifts to the O-terminus. This means that in the peptide elongation N-imidazolyl-O-aminoacyl phosphates play in prebiotic systems the outstanding role similar to that of aminoacyl adenylates formed at the ATP and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases presence in biosystems. The new crucial role of imidazoles in prebiotic evolution has been noticed. The systems used and modes of their conversion can be good models for prebiotic peptide syntheses in a flow thermocyclic regime.


Nikita Yu Serov, Valery G Shtyrlin, Khasan R Khayarov. The kinetics and mechanisms of reactions in the flow systems glycine-sodium trimetaphosphate-imidazoles: the crucial role of imidazoles in prebiotic peptide syntheses. Amino acids. 2020 May;52(5):811-821

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PMID: 32372392

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