Scientists have discovered why life cannot exist without water


Biologists from the United States came to the conclusion that the unique role of water in shaping life due to the fact that it is critical to coagulation of protein molecules and acquire the correct form.

“For a long time, our colleagues tried to understand how water interacts with proteins. This question is a fundamental problem in biology that relates to how proteins, how they are stable, how they change and how they work. We believe that we have reason to believe that water controls the fluctuations of protein molecules at time intervals of the order of picoseconds,” said Dongping Zhong (Dongping Zhong) from the Ohio state University in Columbus (USA).

Zhong and his colleagues tried to find the answer to the main “eternal” question of biology and the history of life on Earth – why water is the “solvent” in which all reactions happen inside our bodies and within all living cells. On this question there are many philosophical answers, but specific explanation of why water is unique to life molecule, scientists have not yet been.

The authors found one of the options of why water is the main fluid of life, watching as one of the most complex and important proteins in our cells – DNA-polymerase – repairing and copies of the spiral of the genetic code. They were not interested in the Assembly process of DNA molecules, and then how to move the water molecules around the DNA polymerase.

As the water molecules and the protein are moving very quickly, scientists had to make some tweaks to monitor their movement – for example, they have built in polymerase amino acid tryptophan, is not in her nature, which shone upon irradiation with laser and illuminated the surrounding water.

A similar glow occurs and is extinguished very quickly, which allowed the team Jun to monitor the changes of water and protein molecules at a frequency of 10 trillion frames per second.

Monitoring data showed that water plays a key role in coagulation of protein and holding them in the desired shape, restricting the movement of the “tails” of DNA polymerase in some parties. It didn’t give the squirrel apart and to accept a new, irregular shape in which its functions would be disturbed. In the words of Chung, the water molecules form a kind of “network”, who chase the tails of the protein in the right side.

As emphasized by the biologist, this conclusion does not mean that water has a “memory” or “structure” – its influence on the structure of a protein is because of how connected amino acids and how they interact with each other and with water molecules. Apparently, this property could help life to appear in the “soup” of amino acids and other building blocks of life in the primary ocean of the Earth 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago.

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