Utilization of cofactors expands metabolism in a new RNA world

Gregory J. Connell, Eric L. Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


RNA has been hypothesized to have preceded proteins as the major catalysts of the biosphere, yet there are only a very limited number of chemical reactions that are known to be catalyzed by modern RNA. Cofactors are used by the majority of protein enzymes to supply additional functional groups to the active site. RNA should also be able to utilize some of these same cofactors to extend its own catalytic potential. We describe here how it could be possible to use selection - amplification from a population of random RNA to obtain a coenzyme A mediated RNA transacylase. Exploitation of some of the sulphur chemistry mediated by coenzyme A could have significantly expanded a prebiotic RNA directed metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalOrigins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 1993


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