Phenotype/genotype sequence complementarity and prebiotic replicator coexistence in the metabolically coupled replicator system

Balázs Könnyű, T. Czárán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: RNA or RNA-like polymers are the most likely candidates for having played the lead roles on the stage of the origin of life. RNA is known to feature two of the three essential functions of living entities (metabolism, heredity and membrane): it is capable of unlimited heredity and it has a proven capacity for catalysing very different chemical reactions which may form simple metabolic networks. The Metabolically Coupled Replicator System is a class of simulation models built on these two functions to show that an RNA World scenario for the origin of life is ecologically feasible, provided that it is played on mineral surfaces. The fact that RNA templates and their copies are of complementary base sequences has an obvious dynamical relevance: complementary strains may have very different structures and, consequently, functions - one may specialize for increasing enzymatic activity while the other takes the role of the gene of the enzyme.

RESULTS: Incorporating the functional divergence of template and copy into the Metabolically Coupled Replicator System model framework we show that sequence complementarity 1) does not ruin the coexistence of a set of metabolically cooperating replicators; 2) the replicator system remains resistant to, but also tolerant with its parasites; 3) opens the way to the evolutionary differentiation of phenotype and genotype through a primitive version of phenotype amplification.

CONCLUSIONS: The functional asymmetry of complementary RNA strains results in a shift of phenotype/genotype (enzyme/gene) proportions in MCRS, favouring a slight genotype dominance. This asymmetry is expected to reverse due to the evolved trade-off of high "gene" replicability and high catalytic activity of the corresponding "enzyme" in expense of its replicability. This trade-off is the first evolutionary step towards the "division of labour" among enzymes and genes, which has concluded in the extreme form of phenotype amplification characteristic of our recent DNA-RNA-protein World.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Prebiotics
complementarity
prebiotics
coexistence
phenotype
RNA
genotype
Genotype
Phenotype
Heredity
enzyme
origin of life
Enzymes
gene
Genes
enzymes
trade-off
inheritance (genetics)
amplification
asymmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "Phenotype/genotype sequence complementarity and prebiotic replicator coexistence in the metabolically coupled replicator system",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: RNA or RNA-like polymers are the most likely candidates for having played the lead roles on the stage of the origin of life. RNA is known to feature two of the three essential functions of living entities (metabolism, heredity and membrane): it is capable of unlimited heredity and it has a proven capacity for catalysing very different chemical reactions which may form simple metabolic networks. The Metabolically Coupled Replicator System is a class of simulation models built on these two functions to show that an RNA World scenario for the origin of life is ecologically feasible, provided that it is played on mineral surfaces. The fact that RNA templates and their copies are of complementary base sequences has an obvious dynamical relevance: complementary strains may have very different structures and, consequently, functions - one may specialize for increasing enzymatic activity while the other takes the role of the gene of the enzyme.RESULTS: Incorporating the functional divergence of template and copy into the Metabolically Coupled Replicator System model framework we show that sequence complementarity 1) does not ruin the coexistence of a set of metabolically cooperating replicators; 2) the replicator system remains resistant to, but also tolerant with its parasites; 3) opens the way to the evolutionary differentiation of phenotype and genotype through a primitive version of phenotype amplification.CONCLUSIONS: The functional asymmetry of complementary RNA strains results in a shift of phenotype/genotype (enzyme/gene) proportions in MCRS, favouring a slight genotype dominance. This asymmetry is expected to reverse due to the evolved trade-off of high {"}gene{"} replicability and high catalytic activity of the corresponding {"}enzyme{"} in expense of its replicability. This trade-off is the first evolutionary step towards the {"}division of labour{"} among enzymes and genes, which has concluded in the extreme form of phenotype amplification characteristic of our recent DNA-RNA-protein World.",
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T1 - Phenotype/genotype sequence complementarity and prebiotic replicator coexistence in the metabolically coupled replicator system

AU - Könnyű, Balázs

AU - Czárán, T.

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N2 - BACKGROUND: RNA or RNA-like polymers are the most likely candidates for having played the lead roles on the stage of the origin of life. RNA is known to feature two of the three essential functions of living entities (metabolism, heredity and membrane): it is capable of unlimited heredity and it has a proven capacity for catalysing very different chemical reactions which may form simple metabolic networks. The Metabolically Coupled Replicator System is a class of simulation models built on these two functions to show that an RNA World scenario for the origin of life is ecologically feasible, provided that it is played on mineral surfaces. The fact that RNA templates and their copies are of complementary base sequences has an obvious dynamical relevance: complementary strains may have very different structures and, consequently, functions - one may specialize for increasing enzymatic activity while the other takes the role of the gene of the enzyme.RESULTS: Incorporating the functional divergence of template and copy into the Metabolically Coupled Replicator System model framework we show that sequence complementarity 1) does not ruin the coexistence of a set of metabolically cooperating replicators; 2) the replicator system remains resistant to, but also tolerant with its parasites; 3) opens the way to the evolutionary differentiation of phenotype and genotype through a primitive version of phenotype amplification.CONCLUSIONS: The functional asymmetry of complementary RNA strains results in a shift of phenotype/genotype (enzyme/gene) proportions in MCRS, favouring a slight genotype dominance. This asymmetry is expected to reverse due to the evolved trade-off of high "gene" replicability and high catalytic activity of the corresponding "enzyme" in expense of its replicability. This trade-off is the first evolutionary step towards the "division of labour" among enzymes and genes, which has concluded in the extreme form of phenotype amplification characteristic of our recent DNA-RNA-protein World.

AB - BACKGROUND: RNA or RNA-like polymers are the most likely candidates for having played the lead roles on the stage of the origin of life. RNA is known to feature two of the three essential functions of living entities (metabolism, heredity and membrane): it is capable of unlimited heredity and it has a proven capacity for catalysing very different chemical reactions which may form simple metabolic networks. The Metabolically Coupled Replicator System is a class of simulation models built on these two functions to show that an RNA World scenario for the origin of life is ecologically feasible, provided that it is played on mineral surfaces. The fact that RNA templates and their copies are of complementary base sequences has an obvious dynamical relevance: complementary strains may have very different structures and, consequently, functions - one may specialize for increasing enzymatic activity while the other takes the role of the gene of the enzyme.RESULTS: Incorporating the functional divergence of template and copy into the Metabolically Coupled Replicator System model framework we show that sequence complementarity 1) does not ruin the coexistence of a set of metabolically cooperating replicators; 2) the replicator system remains resistant to, but also tolerant with its parasites; 3) opens the way to the evolutionary differentiation of phenotype and genotype through a primitive version of phenotype amplification.CONCLUSIONS: The functional asymmetry of complementary RNA strains results in a shift of phenotype/genotype (enzyme/gene) proportions in MCRS, favouring a slight genotype dominance. This asymmetry is expected to reverse due to the evolved trade-off of high "gene" replicability and high catalytic activity of the corresponding "enzyme" in expense of its replicability. This trade-off is the first evolutionary step towards the "division of labour" among enzymes and genes, which has concluded in the extreme form of phenotype amplification characteristic of our recent DNA-RNA-protein World.

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