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RNA World Hypothesis is centred around the idea of a period in the early history of life's origin, wherein nonenzymatic oligomerization and replication of RNA resulted in functional ribozymes. Previous studies in this endeavour have demonstrated template-directed primer extension using chemically modified nucleotides and primers. Nonetheless, similar studies that used non-activated nucleotides led to the formation of RNA only with abasic sites. In this study, we report template-directed primer extension with prebiotically relevant cyclic nucleotides, under dehydration-rehydration (DH-RH) cycles occurring at high temperature (90 °C) and alkaline conditions (pH 8). 2'-3' cyclic nucleoside monophosphates (cNMP) resulted in primer extension, while 3'-5' cNMP failed to do so. Intact extension of up to two nucleotide additions was observed with both canonical hydroxy-terminated (OH-primer) and activated amino-terminated (NH2-primer) primers. We demonstrate primer extension reactions using both purine and pyrimidine 2'-3' cNMPs, with higher product yield observed during cAMP additions. Further, the presence of lipid was observed to significantly enhance the extended product in cCMP reactions. In all, our study provides a proof-of-concept for nonenzymatic primer extension of RNA, using intrinsically activated prebiotically relevant cyclic nucleotides as monomers. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


Shikha Dagar, Susovan Sarkar, Sudha Rajamani. Nonenzymatic Template-Directed Primer Extension Using 2'-3' Cyclic Nucleotides Under Wet-Dry Cycles. Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere : the journal of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life. 2023 Jun;53(1-2):43-60

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PMID: 37243884

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