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Nature. 1984 Sep 6-11;311(5981):19-23.

Origins of biomolecular handedness.


Classical mechanisms proposed for the transition from racemic geochemistry to homochiral biochemistry in terrestrial evolution generally ascribe to chance the particular handed choice of the L-amino acids and the D-sugars by self-replicating systems. The parity-violating weak neutral current interaction gives rise to an energy difference between a chiral molecule and its mirror-image isomer, resulting in a small stabilization of the L-amino acids and the L-peptides in the alpha-helix and the beta-sheet conformation relative to the corresponding enantiomer. The energy difference suffices to break the chiral symmetry of autocatalytic racemic reaction sequences in an open non-equilibrium system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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