CRC 235 Emergence of Life

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A Possible Primordial Acetyleno/Carboxydotrophic Core Metabolism

J. Sobotta 2020 Life.


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.