Marín Yaseli, M. R., Cid, C., Yague, A. L., Ruiz Bermejo, M. 2017. Detection of Macromolecular Fractions in HCN Polymers Using Electrophoretic and Ultrafiltration Techniques. Chemistry and Biodiversity 14, 2, DOI: 10.1002/cbdv.201600241
Elucidating the origin of life involves synthetic as well as analytical challenges. Herein, for the first time, we describe the use of gel electrophoresis and ultrafiltration to fractionate HCN polymers. Since the first prebiotic synthesis of adenine by Oro, HCN polymers have gained much interest in studies on the origins of life due to the identification of biomonomers and related compounds within them. Here, we demonstrate that macromolecular fractions with electrophoretic mobility can also be detected within HCN polymers. The migration of polymers under the influence of an electric field depends not only on their sizes (one-dimensional electrophoresis) but also their different isoelectric points (two-dimensional electrophoresis, 2-DE). The same behaviour was observed for several macromolecular fractions detected in HCN polymers. Macromolecular fractions with apparent molecular weights as high as 250 kDa were detected by tricine-SDS gel electrophoresis. Cationic macromolecular fractions with apparent molecular weights as high as 140 kDa were also detected by 2-DE. The HCN polymers synthesized were fractionated by ultrafiltration. As a result, the molecular weight distributions of the macromolecular fractions detected in the HCN polymers directly depended on the synthetic conditions used to produce these polymers. The implications of these results for prebiotic chemistry will be discussed.