A04 Chemistry Group

Finding a precursor metabolic system driven by a CO environment

The Chemistry Group will theoretically pursue the autocatalytic networks (precursor metabolism) that are established in planetary environments starting from CO and demonstrate them through experiments. First, from the mathematical model, candidate combinations of reaction steps and numerical targets of reaction selectivity necessary for the occurrence of autocatalysis are derived. Based on this design, experiments will sequentially explore organic acid formation routes using CO and its derivatives as carbon sources, and amino acid/peptide/nucleobase formation routes using N2 and nitric acid as nitrogen sources. In addition, amino acid/peptide-mineral complex catalysts will be developed and used to improve reaction selectivity. Furthermore, we will develop a flow reactor that drives multiple steps in a cascade manner and look for an autocatalytic network as a series of systems by linking the elementary reactions pioneered in the experiments. In collaboration with the biology group (A03), we will receive information on primitive CO metabolism, and if there are reaction steps that are difficult to realize immediately, we will use pseudoenzymes produced by synthetic biology methods (top-down approach). On the other hand, as a bottom-up approach, we will simulate the CO environment derived by the Theory Group (A01) and the Environment Group (A02), and demonstrate the planetary chemical process in which building blocks of life, such as amino acids and nucleobases, are continuously generated from simple inorganic substances containing CO.

Kitadai Norio (PI),       JAMSTEC, Institute for Extra-cutting-edge Science and Technology Avant-garde Research, Group Sub-leader
Nakamura Ryuhei,      Tokyo Tech., Earth-Life Institute, Professor
Yamamoto Masahiro,  JAMSTEC, Institute for Extra-cutting-edge Science and Technology Avant-garde Research, Researcher Scientist
Yamaguchi Akira,        Tokyo Tech., Earth-Life Institute, Associate Professor
Li Yamei,                      Tokyo Tech., Earth-Life Institute, Specially Appointed Assistant Professor
Oka Hideshi,                RIKEN, Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Research Scientist
Eric Smith,                   Tokyo Tech., Earth-Life Institute, Specially Appointed Professor

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