Most self-replicating peptide systems are made of α-helix forming sequences. However, it has been postulated that shorter and simpler peptides may also serve as templates for replication when arranged into well-defined structures. We describe here the design and characterization of new peptides that form soluble β-sheet aggregates that serve to significantly accelerate their ligation and self-replication. We then discuss the relevance of these phenomena to early molecular evolution, in light of additional functionality associated with β-sheet assemblies.
- Prebiotic peptides