Publication details

A prebiotically plausible synthesis of pyrimidine beta-ribonucleosides and their phosphate derivatives involving photoanomerization

Authors

XU Jianfeng TSANAKOPOULOU Maria MAGNANI Christopher J. SZABLA Rafal ŠPONEROVÁ Judit ŠPONER Jiří GORA Robert W. SUTHERLAND John D.

Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Nature chemistry
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Citation
Web https://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v9/n4/full/nchem.2664.html
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCHEM.2664
Field Physical chemistry and theoretical chemistry
Keywords EXCITED-STATE; 2-THIOURACIL; PICTURE; DEACTIVATION; NUCLEOTIDES; NUCLEOSIDES; RELAXATION; PRECURSORS; CHEMISTRY; FORMAMIDE
Description Previous research has identified ribose aminooxazoline as a potential intermediate in the prebiotic synthesis of the pyrimidine nucleotides with remarkable properties. It crystallizes spontaneously from reaction mixtures, with an enhanced enantiomeric excess if initially enantioenriched, which suggests that reservoirs of this compound might have accumulated on the early Earth in an optically pure form. Ribose aminooxazoline can be converted efficiently into alpha-ribocytidine by way of 2,2'-anhydroribocytidine, although anomerization to alpha-ribocytidine by ultraviolet irradiation is extremely inefficient. Our previous work demonstrated the synthesis of pyrimidine alpha-ribonucleotides, but at the cost of ignoring ribose aminooxazoline, using arabinose aminooxazoline instead. Here we describe a long-sought route through ribose aminooxazoline to the pyrimidine alpha-ribonucleosides and their phosphate derivatives that involves an extraordinarily efficient photoanomerization of alpha-2-thioribocytidine. In addition to the canonical nucleosides, our synthesis accesses alpha-2-thioribouridine, a modified nucleoside found in transfer RNA that enables both faster and more-accurate nucleic acid template-copying chemistry.
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