From formamide to adenine: a self-catalytic mechanism for an abiotic approach
Wang, J.; Gu, J.; Nguyen, M. T.; Springsteen, G.; Leszczynski, J. From formamide to adenine: a self-catalytic mechanism for an abiotic approach. J. Phys. Chem. B 2013, 117, 14039-45.
Mechanisms for abiotic reaction pathways from formamide (H2NCHO) to adenine are presented herein. Formamide is a simple C1 building block hypothesized to be a precursor to many protometabolic compounds. On the basis of a step-by-step mechanism of the reaction pathways, formamide is suggested to be more reactive in addition reactions than HCN. In addition to its simplicity, the formamide self-catalyzed mechanism is energetically (kinetically) more viable than either a water-catalyzed mechanism or noncatalyzed processes. Moreover, this self-catalyzed mechanism accounts for the yields of purine and adenine previously observed in experiments. This mechanism may elucidate processes that were vital for the emergence of life on the early earth.
Journal of Physical Chemistry B