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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prebiotic phosphorylation of nucleosides in formamide.

A possible prebiotic phosphorylation method has been investigated in which formamide served as the reaction medium. Nucleotides and nucleotide derivatives were formed when nucleosides were allowed to react with different orthophosphate, hydrogen phosphate or dihydrogen phosphate salts or with different condensed phosphate salts. The reaction products obtained from the phosphorylation of adenosine were 2'3' and 5'-AMPs, 2',5' and 3',5'-ADPs and 2',3'-cyclic AMP. The extent of phosphorylation in formamide exceeded 50% under favorable conditions after 15 days at 70 degrees. The acidic dihydrogen phosphates and condensed hydrogen phosphates proved to be the best phosphorylating agents. The presence of water in the medium decreased the yield of nucleotide derivatives, but some phosphorylation of adenosine was detected using dihydrogen phosphate in formamide containing water. The phosphorylation reactions were also observed for deoxynucleosides. Little decompression of the nucleosides was detected during the reaction time needed to form nucleotide derivatives. The facility with which phosphorylation takes place in formamide under very mild conditions may justify further studies both of prebiotic phosphorylation and synthetic phosphorylation using this solvent.[1]


  1. Prebiotic phosphorylation of nucleosides in formamide. Schoffstall, A.M. Orig. Life (1976) [Pubmed]
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