A Possible Primordial Acetyleno/Carboxydotrophic Core Metabolism
J. Sobotta, T. Geisberger, C. Moosmann, C.M. Scheidler, W. Eisenreich, G. Wächtershäuser and C. Huber
Carbon fixation, in addition to the evolution of metabolism, is a main requirement for the evolution of life. Here, we report a one-pot carbon fixation of acetylene (C2H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) by aqueous nickel sulfide (NiS) under hydrothermal (>100 °C) conditions. A slurry of precipitated NiS converts acetylene and carbon monoxide into a set of C2–4-products that are surprisingly representative for C2–4-segments of all four central CO2-fixation cycles of the domains Bacteria and Archaea, whereby some of the products engage in the same interconversions, as seen in the central CO2-fixation cycles. The results suggest a primordial, chemically predetermined, non-cyclic acetyleno/carboxydotrophic core metabolism. This metabolism is based on aqueous organo–metal chemistry, from which the extant central CO2-fixation cycles based on thioester chemistry would have evolved by piecemeal modifications.