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Origin of life alternative and fuel alternative?

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posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 01:29 AM
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Wow, talk about a two-fer! Some folks over at Penn State have some very, very interesting ideas about another possible way life started here on the third rock, pretty controversial really and a total departure from anything I've heard.

Seems that some bugs they were studying have an unusual metabolism that could be a source of cheap energy too, they eat caborn monoxide, require no oxygen and produce methane... Hmmm.

What's more contrioversial is their "thermodynamic theory of evolution" that they intend to publish very soon... try this link here. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Thanx,

Victor K.

[edit on 1-6-2006 by V Kaminski]




posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 10:24 AM
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Pretty Cool!

Nice find.


While this may provide additional avenues of investigation for OOL researchers, it is noteworthy, that this 'ancient' organism retains the enzyme complexes necessary for the chemiosmotic synthesis of ATP. IOW, this organism still has a complex, multicomponent pathway for the production of ATP present in most organisms.

While perhaps providing an interesting new area of metabolism to research, it would appear that this organism does little to relieve the difficulties presented to OOL researchers by complex metabolic pathways.



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 10:45 AM
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Thanx mattison0922, I thought it a rather unusual article. A friend over at CSA (Canadian Space Agency) turned me on to it while I was hunting for "alternative uses for RADARSAT"... seems some CSA and ESA scientists are really jazzed about a tentative proposal to get some of these little guys up on the ESA Columbus ISS module in the next decade or so and see if they can be coaxed to give methane as rocket fuel and to explore the outside chance their appetite for carbon monoxide can be applied to cracking waste respiratory carbon dioxide that (highly maintenace intensive) scrubbers and beds currently deal with. I don't have a clue about their "Thermodynamic Genesis" theory tho'... 'bound to ruffle at least some feathers when it is more widely known.

Thanx again for replying and I'm glad you thought the article was worth reading,

Victor K.


[edit on 1-6-2006 by V Kaminski]



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 10:58 AM
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Good find.


"It is quite possible," Ferry said, "that this could be the first metabolic cycle."
[the cycle is]
in the presence of minerals containing iron sulfides, acetate could have been catalytically converted to a sulfur-containing derivative called an acetate thioester. Attached to the mineral surface, a "protocell" containing primitive forms of these two enzymes [Pta ("phosphotransacetylase") and Ack ("acetate kinase.") ] could then have generated biochemical energy by converting this derivative back to acetate. Excreting acetate would have completed the cycle.


The paper should be interesting. I am not clear on where they are saying this fits in. It requires two complex proteins and vinegar. Its occuring on a mineral surface, so it seems like its not expected to occur within a 'protocell' (but say one that lacks steady metabolic activity).

It seems like it implies that genetics existed before metabolism, but that just gets back to the conundrum of how you have dna/rna producing proteins without a stable metabolism. Unless they are suggesting that these two proteins formed spontaneously or as part of some non-cellular 'super-cycle', and then provide the energy gradient to permit more unfavourable reactions.

Here is a paper on the genetic regulation of those proteins in a member of the same genus as the creature in the above study
jb.asm.org...


pta and ack are transcribed as an approximately 2.4-kb polycistronic message and that the regulation of enzyme synthesis occurs at the mRNA level

interesting. I am just wondering what we'd expect of something that is so primitive. Polycistronic mRNA processing isn't unusual, but it might hint at some sort of support for an RNA world. Messenger RNA that acts as a go between between protein strucutre and DNA structure doesn't seem to clash with this idea. I wonder if there is something unusual about these proteins that would make mRNA likely to form around them and reproduce them?


"This long-standing debate between the heterotrophic and chemotrophic theories," House continued, "revolved around carbon fixation." The new thermodynamic theory inverts the focus, Ferry said. "All these pathways evolved first to make energy. Afterwards, they evolved to fix carbon. These ideas suggest a totally new perspective. It's truly a quantum leap -- a milestone."


Sounds wonderful. Here are google scholar results for Dr. Ferry, looks like he has been researching this organism, carbon chemistry, and bacterial mineral interactions for a while.

edit to add:

Scratch the openign bit, I misread 'protocell' as 'photo-cell'.

It seems like they are starting off with a heck of a lot of things already. Still, it might stimulate some more unusual research.

[edit on 1-6-2006 by Nygdan]



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

"It is quite possible," Ferry said, "that this could be the first metabolic cycle."
[the cycle is]
in the presence of minerals containing iron sulfides, acetate could have been catalytically converted to a sulfur-containing derivative called an acetate thioester. Attached to the mineral surface, a "protocell" containing primitive forms of these two enzymes [Pta ("phosphotransacetylase") and Ack ("acetate kinase.") ] could then have generated biochemical energy by converting this derivative back to acetate. Excreting acetate would have completed the cycle.


The paper should be interesting. I am not clear on where they are saying this fits in. It requires two complex proteins and vinegar. Its occuring on a mineral surface, so it seems like its not expected to occur within a 'protocell' (but say one that lacks steady metabolic activity).

Unless I am reading this wrong, it appears that this implies use of some sort of acetophosphate species as an energy source. That is cleavage of the phosphate bond between acetate and phosphate could yield energy in a manner similar to that of pyrophosphate cleavage in the ATP-->ADP + Pi reaction.

The idea of a 'protocell' isn't necessarily limited to membrane bound entities... some have proposed that invaginations or cavitations in rocks can serve as vessels for proto-cells. In that context, it makes a little more sense. As you can imagine, I am not a fan of this OOL theory, but it DOES exist.


It seems like it implies that genetics existed before metabolism,

I didn't get this impression... can you perhaps elaborate?


Here is a paper on the genetic regulation of those proteins in a member of the same genus as the creature in the above study
jb.asm.org...


pta and ack are transcribed as an approximately 2.4-kb polycistronic message and that the regulation of enzyme synthesis occurs at the mRNA level

interesting. I am just wondering what we'd expect of something that is so primitive. Polycistronic mRNA processing isn't unusual, but it might hint at some sort of support for an RNA world. Messenger RNA that acts as a go between between protein strucutre and DNA structure doesn't seem to clash with this idea. I wonder if there is something unusual about these proteins that would make mRNA likely to form around them and reproduce them?

I think this raises an interesting, if somewhat off topic point. Why would any messages in primitive organisms be arranged in operons? If these enzymes evolved separately, and were part of different systems, what's the selective pressure to arrange them in operons, and perhaps even more importantly, what's the mechanism by which related genes are clustered into operons? In addition, what's the mechanism whereby genes are clustered into 'translationally dependent cascades,' ie translation of a preliminary component in the pathway is necessary before later components can be tranlsated?



"This long-standing debate between the heterotrophic and chemotrophic theories," House continued, "revolved around carbon fixation." The new thermodynamic theory inverts the focus, Ferry said. "All these pathways evolved first to make energy. Afterwards, they evolved to fix carbon. These ideas suggest a totally new perspective. It's truly a quantum leap -- a milestone."

It's an interesting question indeed. Personally, I've always considered the reduction of both Carbon and Nitrogen to be the critical pathways that would permit life to evolve. I may have to give the 'energy metabolism first' idea more consideration though. I must admit that it is particurlarly unappealing to me, but I am going to give the primary article and some of the associated refs a good read.



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by V Kaminski
Thanx mattison0922, I thought it a rather unusual article. A friend over at CSA (Canadian Space Agency) turned me on to it while I was hunting for "alternative uses for RADARSAT"...

Well... I thought it was cool... but experience leads me to believe that it will unfortunately receive little attention here at ATS. There are other OOL forums where this would stimulate much discussion.


seems some CSA and ESA scientists are really jazzed about a tentative proposal to get some of these little guys up on the ESA Columbus ISS module in the next decade or so and see if they can be coaxed to give methane as rocket fuel and to explore the outside chance their appetite for carbon monoxide can be applied to cracking waste respiratory carbon dioxide that (highly maintenace intensive) scrubbers and beds currently deal with.

Hmmm... sounds pretty cool... I'm all for bioremediation with microbes


I heard a talk... must have been about 6 years ago now, by a researcher who was making a chimeric protein that would ultimately use light energy to split water... and ummm... somehow generate Hydrogen gas... can't remember the guys name or one of the proteins involved in the chimera though... cool stuff.


I don't have a clue about their "Thermodynamic Genesis" theory tho'... 'bound to ruffle at least some feathers when it is more widely known.

I will definitely read up on it.... biochemical thermodynamics is one of my specialty areas.


Thanx again for replying and I'm glad you thought the article was worth reading,

Thanks for posting.... but again don't get your hopes up for this to become a "most viewed thread though.




posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 11:51 AM
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Originally posted by mattison0922
I didn't get this impression... can you perhaps elaborate?

In so far as having proteins before the metabolism. Unless they suggest that the proteins formed spontaneously.


If these enzymes evolved separately, and were part of different systems, what's the selective pressure to arrange them in operons

I would think to regulate their function no? That this arrangement occurs well after the existence of the proteins and their metabolic function. Perhaps the 'cycle' exists, and then genetics evolves and they are 'retro-coded' into genetics. Cairns-Smith had a similar idea, he thought that minerals themselves, because of their ability to grow and internally replicate their crystal structure, could serve as primitive genomes, and then that later there was a 'genetic takeover' with the mineral 'genome' being replaced by chemicals. Sort of retro-fitting themselves, assemblying from the proteins backwards.
So maybe something like that is happening here. The metabolic reaction exists. It provides energy, and that pushes the thermodynamics of formation of genetic material into a workable range. Then the genetic material that does form is 'back forming' from the proteins. Clearly thats wild assed speculation though.


what's the mechanism by which related genes are clustered into operons?

But by that point you've already got living cells no?


what's the mechanism whereby genes are clustered into 'translationally dependent cascades,' ie translation of a preliminary component in the pathway is necessary before later components can be tranlsated?

I'll agree that this research isn't going to answer the real questions. I think that they are at least claiming that the big benefit of this research is that you now have a primitive metabolic reaction, formed 'simply' by a 'simple' system. I am still not understanding how you get this protein-proto-cell-mineral complex in the first place. Were'd the proteins come from, if nothing else?


but again don't get your hopes up for this to become a "most viewed thread though.

I'll fix that.

The proteins were formed by Reptiloids from Dimension X and thus it proves Creationism


There, that should attract some attention.



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 12:03 PM
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No worries... I'd actually have missed it completely if I wasn't doing some other ATS generated research (serendipity in research! LOL) about RADARSAT, Eagle Vision, Vexcel groundstations that sorta stuff, not to mention the "exceptional use" clauses cleverly written in to some JPL docs... read Section C and D, that'll be a different thread. The thing is "here" in the ATS commonwealth for reference if it comes up again that'd be a bonus.

Thanx,

Victor K.

[edit on 1-6-2006 by V Kaminski]



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 12:28 PM
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What about archebacteria? Isn’t it a protobacteria that preceded both eukaryotes and prokaryotes before plant life and animal life were separate life forms?

I have for some time assumed that the building blocks for RNA were either present in primitive that primordial soup which became the early oceans or arrived piggy back on some meteorite.

Would assumptions based upon this study obviate my position?

I have decided that if man insists upon a deity, its name must be Archae.



posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by sayswho
What about archebacteria? Isn’t it a protobacteria that preceded both eukaryotes and prokaryotes before plant life and animal life were separate life forms?

The phylogeny of archae is debatable. Many consider them a 'transitional' form in between eukaryotes and prokaryotes. They have some features common to both the prokaryotic and eukaryotic domains. Some of their features are distinctly archae alone.


I have for some time assumed that the building blocks for RNA were either present in primitive that primordial soup which became the early oceans or arrived piggy back on some meteorite.

Would assumptions based upon this study obviate my position?

Not assumptions from this study, but assumptions from plenty of others would.


I have decided that if man insists upon a deity, its name must be Archae.





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