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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1990;20(3-4):249-57.

Diketopiperazine-mediated peptide formation in aqueous solution.

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Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Kanazawa University, Japan.


Though diketopiperazines (DKP) are formed in most experiments concerning the prebiotic peptide formation, the molecules have not been paid attention in the studies of chemical evolution. We have found that triglycine, tetraglycine or pentaglycine are formed in aqueous solution of glycine anhydride (DKP) and glycine, diglycine or triglycine, respectively. A reaction of alanine with DKP resulted in the formation of glycylglycylalanine under the same conditions. These results indicate that the formation of the peptide bonds proceeds through the nucleophilic attack of an amino group of the amino acids or the oligoglycines on the DKP accompanied by the ring-opening. The formation of glycine anhydride, di-, tri- and tetraglycine was also observed in a mixed aqueous solution of urea and glycine in an open system to allow the evaporation of ammonia. A probable pathway is proposed for prebiotic peptide formation through diketopiperazine on the primitive Earth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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