Non-enzymatic primer extension with strand displacement.

07:00 EST 8th November 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Non-enzymatic primer extension with strand displacement."

Non-enzymatic RNA self-replication is integral to the emergence of the 'RNA World'. Despite considerable progress in non-enzymatic template copying, demonstrating a full replication cycle remains challenging due to the difficulty of separating the strands of the product duplex. Here, we report a prebiotically plausible approach to strand displacement synthesis in which short 'invader' oligonucleotides unwind an RNA duplex through a toehold/branch migration mechanism, allowing non-enzymatic primer extension on a template that was previously occupied by its complementary strand. Kinetic studies of single-step reactions suggest that following invader binding, branch migration results in a 2:3 partition of the template between open and closed states. Finally, we demonstrate continued primer extension with strand displacement by employing activated 3'-aminonucleotides, a more reactive proxy for ribonucleotides. Our study suggests that complete cycles of non-enzymatic replication of the primordial genetic material may have been facilitated by short RNA oligonucleotides.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: eLife
ISSN: 2050-084X


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

DNA-dependent DNA polymerases found in bacteria, animal and plant cells. During the replication process, these enzymes catalyze the addition of deoxyribonucleotide residues to the end of a DNA strand in the presence of DNA as template-primer. They also possess exonuclease activity and therefore function in DNA repair. EC

An enzyme that catalyses RNA-template-directed extension of the 3'- end of an RNA strand by one nucleotide at a time, and can initiate a chain de novo. (Enzyme Nomenclature, 1992, p293)

A unique DNA sequence of a replicon at which DNA REPLICATION is initiated and proceeds bidirectionally or unidirectionally. It contains the sites where the first separation of the complementary strands occurs, a primer RNA is synthesized, and the switch from primer RNA to DNA synthesis takes place. (Rieger et al., Glossary of Genetics: Classical and Molecular, 5th ed)

Enzymes that catalyze DNA template-directed extension of the 3'-end of an RNA strand one nucleotide at a time. They can initiate a chain de novo. In eukaryotes, three forms of the enzyme have been distinguished on the basis of sensitivity to alpha-amanitin, and the type of RNA synthesized. (From Enzyme Nomenclature, 1992).

Single cells that have the potential to form an entire organism. They have the capacity to specialize into extraembryonic membranes and tissues, the embryo, and all postembryonic tissues and organs. (Stem Cells: A Primer [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health (US); 2000 May [cited 2002 Apr 5]. Available from:

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