Unified Prebiotically Plausible Synthesis of Pyrimidine and Purine RNA Ribonucleotides

Thomas Carell describes a unified prebiotically plausible synthesis of various RNA ribonucleotides.

Nucleosides contain a glycosidic bond that connects the sugar with the nucleobase. Formation of this bond is very challenging especially in water. In a previous publication Professor Thomas Carell’s group from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (Germany) was able to show that purine nucleoside formation is relatively easy if one employs more nucleophilic nucleobase precursors. At the same time full regioselectivity for the naturally occurring N-9 isomers could be achieved. In their new work, the group shows that amazing chemistry can happen if N–O bonds are introduced into prebiotic chemistry, which leads to a completely novel pathway to pyrimidine nucleosides and even the corresponding nucleotides.

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