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UV photostability of three 2-aminoazoles with key roles in prebiotic chemistry on the early earth

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Abstract

Three related molecules in the 2-aminoazole family are potentially important for prebiotic chemistry: 2-aminooxazole, 2-aminoimidazole, and 2-aminothiazole, which can provide critical functions as an intermediate in nucleotide synthesis, a nucleotide activating agent, and a selective agent, respectively. Here, we examine the wavelength-dependent photodegradation of these three molecules under mid-range UV light (210–290 nm). We then assess the implications of the observed degradation rates for the proposed prebiotic roles of these compounds. We find that all three 2-aminoazoles degrade under UV light, with half lives ranging from ≈7–100 hours under a solar-like spectrum. 2-Aminooxazole is the least photostable, while 2-aminoimidazole is the most photostable. The relative photostabilities are consistent with the order in which these molecules would be used prebiotically: AO is used first to build nucleotides and AI is used last to activate them.

Graphical abstract: UV photostability of three 2-aminoazoles with key roles in prebiotic chemistry on the early earth

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Jul 2019, accepted on 23 Jul 2019 and first published on 05 Aug 2019


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C9CC05265H
Chem. Commun., 2019, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    UV photostability of three 2-aminoazoles with key roles in prebiotic chemistry on the early earth

    Z. R. Todd, R. Szabla, J. W. Szostak and D. D. Sasselov, Chem. Commun., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9CC05265H

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