Ultraviolet-Driven Deamination of Cytidine Ribonucleotides Under Planetary Conditions

Citation:

Todd, Zoe, Albert Fahrenbach, Sukrit Ranjan, Christopher Magnani, Jack Szostak, and Dimitar Sasselov. 2020. “Ultraviolet-Driven Deamination of Cytidine Ribonucleotides Under Planetary Conditions.” Astrobiology 20 (7): 878-888.
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Abstract:

A previously proposed synthesis of pyrimidine ribonucleotides makes use of ultraviolet (UV) light to convert β-d-ribocytidine-2′,3′-cyclic phosphate to β-d-ribouridine-2′,3′-cyclic phosphate, while simultaneously selectively degrading synthetic byproducts. Past studies of the photochemical reactions of pyrimidines have employed mercury arc lamps, characterized by narrowband emission centered at 254 nm, which is not representative of the UV environment of the early Earth. To further assess this process under more realistic circumstances, we investigated the wavelength dependence of the UV-driven conversion of β-d-ribocytidine-2′,3′-cyclic phosphate to β-d-ribouridine-2′,3′-cyclic phosphate. We used constraints provided by planetary environments to assess the implications for pyrimidine nucleotides on the early Earth. We found that the wavelengths of light (255–285 nm) that most efficiently drive the deamination of β-d-ribocytidine-2′,3′-cyclic phosphate to β-d-ribouridine-2′,3′-cyclic phosphate are accessible on planetary surfaces such as those of the Hadean-Archaean Earth for CO2-N2-dominated atmospheres. However, continued irradiation could eventually lead to low levels of ribocytidine in a low-temperature, highly irradiated environment, if production rates are slow.

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Last updated on 10/12/2020