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A-LIFE SIGNED

The asymmetry of life: towards a unified view of the emergence of biological homochirality

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EC-Contrib. €

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 A-LIFE project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the A-LIFE project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "A-LIFE" about.

enantiomer    understand    assembles    biopolymers    underlying    foundation    intermediates    constituent    insights    accessibility    laser    asymmetrically    origin    building    triggered    rna    calculations    physical    sources    homochiral    amplification    synthesized    supramolecular    samples    situ    responsible    amino    simulated    kinetics    theory    central    precursors    enantioenriched    ribose    life    synergistic    chiral    lipids    assembly    first    forms    shown    ultimate    time    handedness    acids    autocatalytic    photochemistry    exclusive    arises    genetic    image    polymerization    quantum    sugars    what    photons    biological    biomolecules    unified    circularly    proteins    meteoritic    asymmetric    conceptual    environments    combined    valuable    earth    occurs    self    blocks    interaction    lack    polarized    mirror    entities    space    homochirality    astrophysical    reaction    molecules    demonstration    simulating    dna    material    methodology    interstellar    stages    significance    evolutionary    synchrotron    simultaneously    led    observations    monomers    almost    universal    groundbreaking    laboratory    heterogeneous    readily    evolution    monitored    experimental    exhibit    emergence    diverse    comet   

Project "A-LIFE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.

Coordinator
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS 

Organization address
address: RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
city: PARIS
postcode: 75794
website: www.cnrs.fr

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
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 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-04-01   to  2024-03-31

 Partnership

Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS FR (PARIS) coordinator 1˙500˙000.00

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 Project objective

What is responsible for the emergence of homochirality, the almost exclusive use of one enantiomer over its mirror image? And what led to the evolution of life’s homochiral biopolymers, DNA/RNA, proteins and lipids, where all the constituent monomers exhibit the same handedness?

Based on in-situ observations and laboratory studies, we propose that this handedness occurs when chiral biomolecules are synthesized asymmetrically through interaction with circularly polarized photons in interstellar space. The ultimate goal of this project will be to demonstrate how the diverse set of heterogeneous enantioenriched molecules, available from meteoritic impact, assembles into homochiral pre-biopolymers, by simulating the evolutionary stages on early Earth. My recent research has shown that the central chiral unit of RNA, ribose, forms readily under simulated comet conditions and this has provided valuable new insights into the accessibility of precursors of genetic material in interstellar environments. The significance of this project arises due to the current lack of experimental demonstration that amino acids, sugars and lipids can simultaneously and asymmetrically be synthesized by a universal physical selection process.

A synergistic methodology will be developed to build a unified theory for the origin of all chiral biological building blocks and their assembly into homochiral supramolecular entities. For the first time, advanced analyses of astrophysical-relevant samples, asymmetric photochemistry triggered by circularly polarized synchrotron and laser sources, and chiral amplification due to polymerization processes will be combined. Intermediates and autocatalytic reaction kinetics will be monitored and supported by quantum calculations to understand the underlying processes. A unified theory on the asymmetric formation and self-assembly of life’s biopolymers is groundbreaking and will impact the whole conceptual foundation of the origin of life.

 Publications

year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Andrew M. Turner, Matthew J. Abplanalp, Alexandre Bergantini, Robert Frigge, Cheng Zhu, Bing-Jian Sun, Chun-Ta Hsiao, Agnes H. H. Chang, Cornelia Meinert, Ralf I. Kaiser
Origin of alkylphosphonic acids in the interstellar medium
published pages: eaaw4307, ISSN: 2375-2548, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw4307
Science Advances 5/8 2019-11-08
2019 Adrien Garcia, Cornelia Meinert, Haruna Sugahara, Nykola Jones, Søren Hoffmann, Uwe Meierhenrich
The Astrophysical Formation of Asymmetric Molecules and the Emergence of a Chiral Bias
published pages: 29, ISSN: 2075-1729, DOI: 10.3390/life9010029
Life 9/1 2019-11-08

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