LMU Researchers Explore the Origin of Life
Researchers at LMU Munich have made headway in exploring the natural environment and processes that led to the early stages of cellular life. It has long been understood that stable cellular membranes able to produce pH differences and energy by moving protons across the membrane is crucial to initiating cellular life. However, the process of creating such a membrane is difficult to discern. LMU biophysicist Christof Mast in Professor Dieter Braun's research group has discovered a process that can produce pH differences even without membranes and only with the help of a heat flow through a water-filled pore. Mast and researchers have discovered that thermal energy can be converted into chemically usable energy then used to construct the cell membrane. This discovery offers a glimpse into the early stages of cellular beginnings and moves us one step closer to understanding the scientific origins of cell life.