June 24, 2019

The astrobiology community has descended on Bellevue, Washington for AbSciCon2019, and that includes a strong contingent of COOL presentations. We created this blog to highlight some of the key COOL and COOL-relevant presentations that piqued our interest this week. We are particularly excited to note the following presentations by COOL members:

University of Houston

Exploring a Primitive ‘RNA only’ or ‘RNA-peptide’ World Using a Dynamic Equilibrium System of Ligation and Degradation Quyen D Tran, Madhan R Tirumalai, Maxim Paci, Kalada Wariso, Vaishnavi Dusi, George Fox

Cryo-EM Studies of a Unique Insertion in the Halococcus morrhuae 5S rRNA Madhan R Tirumalai, Jason Kaelber, Donghyun Park, George Fox

Expansion Segments in Bacterial and Archaeal 5S Ribosomal RNAs George Fox, Victor G Stepanov​​, George Fox, Jessica Bowman, and Madhan Tirumalai led an oral/poster session entitled “Origins of Translation: Then and Now”.


University of Minnesota

The RNA World on Mars Aaron Engelhart, Nathaniel Gaut, Matt Pawla, Benjamin Bachan, Kate Adamala


University of Akron

Photocatalytic Mineral-Promoted Photoheterotrophic Protometabolism Nita Sahai and Punam Dalai


Georgia Institute of Technology

Biochemistry and Astrobiology Loren Dean Williams and Jessica Bowman

Biopolymers; Emergence, Assembly, and Origins Loren Dean Williams

Molecules in Mutualism: Prebiotic Mixtures of Cationic Depsipeptides and RNA Moran Frenkel-Pinter, Jay W. Haynes,Martin Solano, Anton S Petrov, Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, Nicholas V. Hud, Loren Dean Williams Luke J Leman

Excavating the Root; Origins and Early Evolution of the Ribosome Loren Dean Williams, Anton S Petrov, Jessica Bowman, Petar Penev​

Structural Patching Fosters Divergence of Mitochondrial Ribosomes Anton S Petrov, Elizabeth C Wood, Chad R Bernier, Ashlyn M Norris, Alan Brown and Alexey Amunts​

An ancient nuclease cuts a path through “Life’s Dark Ages”Mark A Ditzler, Anton S Petrov, Brooke Rothschild-Mancinelli, Fiona Wood, Loren Dean Williams

Zn binding proteins facilitate formation of the most ancient protein folds as revealed by the Dark matter of Ribosomes Anton S Petrov, Petar Penev, Vasanta Chivukula, Nicholas Kovacs and Loren Dean Williams

G-quadruplexes in ribosomal RNA: an evolutionarily conserved feature of higher eukaryotic ribosomesSanti Mestre-Fos1, Petar Penev, Chieri Ito, Anton S Petrov, Roger M. Wartell, Loren Dean Williams4

Functional Iron-Containing Ribosomes Under Pre-GOE Conditions: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Marcus Salvatore Bray, Suttipong Suttapitugsakul, Jessica Bowman, Ronghu Wu, Amit R. Reddi, Jennifer B Glass, Loren Dean Williams, Center for the Origin of Life

Probing ancestral ribosomal iron utilization through in-line cleavage Rebecca Guth-Metzler, Loren Dean Williams, Jennifer B Glass

The triumvirs of the early peptide bond scaffold: RNA, Me2+ and…water Jessica Bowman, Anton S Petrov, Loren Dean Williams

New alignment score for studying ancestry of ribosomal proteins

Petar Penev, Anton S Petrov, Vasanta Chivukula, Nicholas Kovacs, Loren Dean Williams

RNA folding dictates its persistence  Ahmad Mohyeldin Mohamed, Yuval Pinter, Moran Frenkel-Pinter, Luke J Leman, Loren Dean Williams


AbSciCon 2019