Enhanced nonenzymatic RNA copying with 2-aminoimidazole activated nucleotides

Li Li, Noam Prywes, Chun Pong Tam, Derek K. Oflaherty, Victor S. Lelyveld, Enver Cagri Izgu, Ayan Pal, Jack W. Szostak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Achieving efficient nonenzymatic replication of RNA is an important step toward the synthesis of self-replicating protocells that may mimic early forms of life. Despite recent progress, the nonenzymatic copying of templates containing mixed sequences remains slow and inefficient. Here we demonstrate that activating nucleotides with 2-aminoimidazole results in superior reaction kinetics and improved yields of primer extension reaction products. This new leaving group significantly accelerates monomer addition as well as trimer-assisted RNA primer extension, allowing efficient copying of a variety of short RNA templates with mixed sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1810-1813
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 8 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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