Compound (Pantetheine) Vital for All Life Likely Played a Role in Life’s Origin

A chemical compound essential to all living things has been synthesized in a lab in conditions that could have occurred on early Earth, suggesting it played a role at the outset of life, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

Pantetheine
A chemical compound essential to all living things has been synthesized in a lab in conditions that could have occurred on early Earth, suggesting it played a role at the outset of life, finds a new study led by University College London (UCL) researchers. The compound, pantetheine, is the active fragment of Coenzyme A. It is important for metabolism - the chemical processes that maintain life. Earlier studies failed to synthesize pantetheine effectively, leading to suggestions that it was absent at life’s origin. In the new study, published February 22, 2024 in Science, the research team created the compound in water at room temperature using molecules formed from hydrogen cyanide, which was likely abundant on early Earth. The article is titled “Prebiotically Plausible Chemoselective Pantetheine Synthesis in Water.”
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