Alzheimer's molecules could have been drivers of early life on Earth
Researchers have said that amyloid plaques, a hallmark of diseases like Alzheimer's, may have acted as a catalyst to help trigger the reactions that sustain life.
The latest research by Ivan Korendovych at Syracuse University in New York pointed towards amyloids containing short chains of amino acids, known as peptides, New Scientist reported.
To find out if amyloids can behave like enzymes too, Korendovych and his team designed seven simple peptides that were made from seven amino acids.
The researchers then allowed molecules of each type of peptide to clump together spontaneously for the formation of an amyloid with zinc ions acting as a catalyst.
Four of the seven peptides formed amyloids which had the ability to catalyse the hydrolysis of organic molecules called esters - a reaction that some enzymes catalyse too.
The finding of the research suggests that amyloids could have been the solver of the nature's early enzyme problem.
(Posted on 17-03-2014)