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Repeating cycles of chemically-driven RNA replication within model protocells

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 RNA-Rep project word cloud

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

induce    cycles    permeable    kinetically    nucleic    melting    fraction    emergence    protocellular    stand    rounds    amplification    temperature    biophysics    supramolecular    impermeability    transition    membranes    put    give    situ    structures    science    deciphering    solution    rna    oligo    annealing    recover    outcompetes    darwinian    strength    evolution    strands    monomers    encoded    absence    cooling    enzymatic    acids    unexplored    living    defects    prebiotic    separation    multidisciplinary    biology    original    yield    simplistic    amplify    synthesis    re    place    replicated    single    me    enzymes    chemical    bilayer    excellent    unsolved    innovative    onset    chemically    partial    power    feeding    activated    lipid    combines    replication    heating    biochemistry    genetically    organic    stochastic    slow    inhibiting    separated    renewed    expertise    duplex    containing    effort    repeated    leakage    copying    membrane    training    nucleotides    strand    critical    denatured    optimise    stage    chemistry    ultimately    physically    template    melted    extensive    subsequent    temperatures    separate    compartments   

Project "RNA-Rep" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: SN2 1FL
website: n.a.

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 224˙933 €
 EC max contribution 224˙933 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-04-01   to  2021-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Deciphering how nucleic acids replicated in the absence of genetically encoded enzymes is of critical importance to understanding the onset of Darwinian evolution. While much effort has been put into developing chemically-driven copying of RNA exploiting activated monomers, many unsolved issues stand in the way of achieving repeated cycles of non-enzymatic RNA replication. Non-enzymatic copying of a template strand results in the formation of an RNA duplex, which must then be denatured in order for subsequent rounds of replication to take place. Although RNA strands can be separated by heating, re-annealing kinetically outcompetes slow non-enzymatic copying, thus inhibiting RNA amplification. One unexplored solution to this problem is to physically separate melted strands of RNA so that re-annealing is not possible. Since all known living systems exploit lipid membranes, we propose to investigate whether protocellular compartments can facilitate the emergence of simplistic chemical systems that amplify RNA. Specifically, high temperatures are known to induce both RNA strand separation and bilayer defects, ultimately allowing for the partial leakage of RNA. If the transition temperature of the lipid membrane is higher than the melting temperature of the RNA, then subsequent slow cooling would recover the original impermeability of the membrane and give rise to a fraction of protocellular structures containing stochastic numbers of single RNA strands. At this stage, feeding with permeable activated short (oligo)nucleotides would lead to renewed copying of RNA. This highly original and multidisciplinary project combines the strength of organic and supramolecular chemistry to optimise prebiotic compartments with the power of in situ non-enzymatic RNA biochemistry to yield a project of excellent, innovative science that will exploit my expertise in protocellular systems while providing me extensive training in organic synthesis, chemical biology and biophysics.

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