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Nature. 1996 Aug 8;382(6591):525-8.

A self-replicating peptide.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.

Abstract

The production of amino acids and their condensation to polypeptides under plausibly prebiotic conditions have long been known. But despite the central importance of molecular self-replication in the origin of life, the feasibility of peptide self-replication has not been established experimentally. Here we report an example of a self-replicating peptide. We show that a 32-residue alpha-helical peptide based on the leucine-zipper domain of the yeast transcription factor GCN4 can act autocatalytically in templating its own synthesis by accelerating the thioester-promoted amide-bond condensation of 15- and 17-residue fragments in neutral, dilute aqueous solutions. The self-replication process displays parabolic growth pattern with the initial rates of product formation correlating with the square-foot of initial template concentration.

PMID:
8700225
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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