Research studies in the field of the origins of cellular life need to pass by the comprehension of the assembly phenomena of compartmentalisation (membrane-related) structures starting from amphiphilic molecules.
Such a line of investigation was initiated during my stay at The Salk Institute (1997) (Dr. L.E Orgel’s laboratory). We noticed that a sulfur-rich primitive atmosphere is consistent with astrophysical studies and must be taken into account for a sulfur-metabolizing step in prebiotic evolution. We performed prebiotic syntheses of peptides from thiolated amino acids and showed the direct oligomerization of thioglutamic acid without extrinsic activators, (Maurel and Orgel, 2000). We pursued the study of such reactions within a liposome and showed the lipid catalysis of thioglutamic acid oligomerization (Zepik et al, 2007).