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Abiotic ligation of DNA oligomers templated by their liquid crystal ordering.

ABSTRACT: It has been observed that concentrated solutions of short DNA oligomers develop liquid crystal ordering as the result of a hierarchically structured supramolecular self-assembly. In mixtures of oligomers with various degree of complementarity, liquid crystal microdomains are formed via the selective aggregation of those oligomers that have a sufficient degree of duplexing and propensity for physical polymerization. Here we show that such domains act as fluid and permeable microreactors in which the order-stabilized molecular contacts between duplex terminals serve as physical templates for their chemical ligation. In the presence of abiotic condensing agents, liquid crystal ordering markedly enhances ligation efficacy, thereby enhancing its own phase stability. The coupling between order-templated ligation and selectivity provided by supramolecular ordering enables an autocatalytic cycle favouring the growth of DNA chains, up to biologically relevant lengths, from few-base long oligomers. This finding suggests a novel scenario for the abiotic origin of nucleic acids.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC4366493 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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