Adsorption of RNA on mineral surfaces and mineral precipitates

Elisa Biondi, Yoshihiro Furukawa, Jun Kawai, Steven A. Benner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The prebiotic significance of laboratory experiments that study the interactions between oligomeric RNA and mineral species is difficult to know. Natural exemplars of specific minerals can differ widely depending on their provenance. While laboratory-generated samples of synthetic minerals can have controlled compositions, they are often viewed as "unnatural". Here, we show how trends in the interaction of RNA with natural mineral specimens, synthetic mineral specimens, and co-precipitated pairs of synthetic minerals, can make a persuasive case that the observed interactions reflect the composition of the minerals themselves, rather than their being simply examples of large molecules associating nonspecifically with large surfaces. Using this approach, we have discovered Periodic Table trends in the binding of oligomeric RNA to alkaline earth carbonate minerals and alkaline earth sulfate minerals, where those trends are the same when measured in natural and synthetic minerals. They are also validated by comparison of co-precipitated synthetic minerals. We also show differential binding of RNA to polymorphic forms of calcium carbonate, and the stabilization of bound RNA on aragonite. These have relevance to the prebiotic stabilization of RNA, where such carbonate minerals are expected to have been abundant, as they appear to be today on Mars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalBeilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Carbonates
  • Natural minerals
  • Origins of life
  • RNA adsorption
  • Synthetic minerals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry

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