Research Data Leeds Repository

Biomolecular Self-Assembly Under Extreme Martian Mimetic Conditions - dataset

Laurent, Harrison and Soper, Alan and Dougan, Lorna (2019) Biomolecular Self-Assembly Under Extreme Martian Mimetic Conditions - dataset. University of Leeds. [Dataset]

Dataset description

The recent discovery of subsurface water on Mars has challenged our understanding of the natural limits of life. The presence of magnesium perchlorate (Mg(ClO4)2) on the Martian surface raises the possibility that it may also be present in this subsurface lake. Given that the subsurface lakes on Earth, such as Lake Vostok and Lake Whillans, are capable of harbouring surprising amounts of life, these new findings raise interesting possibilities for how biomolecules might self-assemble in this environment on Mars. Here we investigate the self-association and hydration of the amino acid glycine in aqueous Mg(ClO4)2 at 25oC and -20oC using neutron diffraction with hydrogen isotope substitution and subsequent analysis with empirical potential structure refinement to yield a simulated box of atoms consistent with the scattering data. We find that although the highly chaotropic properties of Mg(ClO4)2 disrupt the hydration and hydrogen bonding ability of the amino acid, as well as the bulk water structure, glycine molecules are nonetheless still able to self-associate. This occurs more readily at lower temperature, where clusters of up to three molecules are observed, allowing us to speculate that the formation of biological molecules is possible in the Martian environment.

Keywords: neutron diffraction; empirical potential structure refinement; amino acid; water; clustering
Subjects: C000 - Biological sciences > C700 - Molecular biology, biophysics & biochemistry > C770 - Biophysical science
F000 - Physical sciences > F300 - Physics
F000 - Physical sciences > F300 - Physics > F320 - Chemical physics
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences > School of Physics and Astronomy
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License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Date deposited: 09 Aug 2019 13:34



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