Quantitative Biosciences Munich

Research Field
Systems Biophysics
Quantitative Biosciences Munich
The genetic code almost universally across life
determines which amino acids are encoded by
which RNA codons. Arrangement of codons in
the classical codon table is highly non-random,
optimized for robustness of functional protein
expression against mutations and transcription
mistakes. How did these essential properties of
the genetic code evolve? Not all the amino acids
were present on the primordial Earth but some
4-10 of the simplest ones, according to different
works. We hypothesize that codons were
assigned to these early amino acids based on the
stereochemical affinity between them. We
design different codon-containing RNA
structures derived from tRNA - modern codonamino acid adaptor molecule - or from known
simple enzymatically active RNAs. We then
measure affinity of the structures to activated
amino acids under different conditions for which
a novel method of microscale thermophoresis
developed in our lab is heavily used. We aim to
design a primordially plausible tRNA-like
molecule capable of self-aminoacylation with
activated amino acids.
Prof. Dr. Dieter Braun
Research Mentor
Evgeniia Edeleva, PhD Student
Ludwig Maximilians Universität München,
Physics Department