poly: From Soup to Cells

From: Forrest Bishop <forrestb@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sun May 17 1998 - 15:07:03 PDT

A friend of mine was talking with David Baltimore yesterday at the
Caltech reunion. Dr. Baltimore mentioned a problem that
is bugging him. Is what I've come up with below plausible? Is it old news?

Problem: How to get from RNA World or Autocatalytic Set to
single cells.

*= weak link

A peptide autocatalytic set (AS) forms ['cooperation']. It mutates
into several overlapping, mutant AS (mAS), with shared component subsets (SCS).
These compete with each other for subset components ['coopetition'].
(AS may or may not include RNA)

*A mutant AS (1mAS) produces a lipid as a byproduct.

The lipids form 'weak' bilayers, then liposomes. The liposomes exist
for some period, then are disrupted.

In the process of self-assembling a liposome, random subsets of
mAS components are sequestered. In particular, subsets of SCS
are protected from predation.

Also in the course of liposome self-assembly, random components are
caught up in the forming bilipid layer.

*A critical component of some mAS (2mAS) (perhaps with 2 active sites,
one a receptor, the other a catalytic agent when the receptor is bound) is caught
up in the bilayer.
Its reactants are sequestered inside the liposome.

An evolutionary advantage is now conferred on the {2mAS+1mAS} superset
that can keep some portion of some SCS sequestered for some period.


Forrest Bishop
Interworld Productions, LLC
Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering
Received on Sun May 17 22:20:11 1998

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