On the Origin of Sugar Handedness: Facts, Hypotheses and Missing Links-A Review



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Fernando Martínez, R. and Cuccia, Louis A. and Viedma Molero, Cristóbal and Cintas Moreno, Pedro (2022) On the Origin of Sugar Handedness: Facts, Hypotheses and Missing Links-A Review. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 52 . pp. 21-56. ISSN 0169-6149 , eISSN: 1573-0875

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11084-022-09624-9


By paraphrasing one of Kipling’s most amazing short stories (How the Leopard Got His Spots), this article could be entitled “How Sugars Became Homochiral”. Obviously, we have no answer to this still unsolved mystery, and this perspective simply brings recent models, experiments and hypotheses into the homochiral homogeneity of sugars on earth. We shall revisit the past and current understanding of sugar chirality in the context of prebiotic chemistry, with attention to recent developments and insights. Different scenarios and pathways will be discussed, from the widely known formose-type processes to less familiar ones, often viewed as unorthodox chemical routes. In particular, problems associated with the spontaneous generation of enantiomeric imbalances and the transfer of chirality will be tackled. As carbohydrates are essential components of all cellular systems, astrochemical and terrestrial observations suggest that saccharides originated from environmentally available feedstocks. Such substances would have been capable of sustaining autotrophic and heterotrophic mechanisms integrating nutrients, metabolism and the genome after compartmentalization. Recent findings likewise indicate that sugars’ enantiomeric bias may have emerged by a transfer of chirality mechanisms, rather than by deracemization of sugar backbones, yet providing an evolutionary advantage that fueled the cellular machinery.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Prebiotic chemistry, Carbohydrates, Homochirality, Ribonucleosides, Amino acid interactions
Subjects:Sciences > Chemistry > Biochemistry
ID Code:75805
Deposited On:29 Nov 2022 16:54
Last Modified:29 Nov 2022 16:54

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