chapter  10
40 Pages

◾ Encapsulation of Organic Materials in Protocells

ByERICA A. FRANKEL, DANIEL C. DEWEY, CHRISTINE D. KEATING

Once synthesized, the prebiotic organic materials would need to be further compartmentalized into discrete units that could serve as early, nonliving progenitors of the rst cellular life. ese precellular assemblies, termed protocells, are thought to have selfassembled from organic molecules and to have facilitated the conversion of the organic matter into functional macromolecules such as catalytically active nucleic acids and proteins (Chen and Silver, 2012). Protocellular compartments are generally considered to be characterized by a semipermeable boundary and to capture one or more additional aspects of living cells; ultimately, these structures must have developed mechanisms to grow and divide while replicating their internal informational and metabolic molecules (Luisi et al., 2006).