Molecular Creation (logo) A Story of Natural Molecular Evolution from Atoms and Water to the living Cell

IONS AND CHARGE TRANSFER

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However, surface charge is another property which is critically important in assembly and function. For example, the insulin molecule is charged positively on its upper surface with a negative charge on the lower tip. The receptor site which binds it has a net positive charge to attract the insulin molecule into it in the correct orientation and then bind it firmly in the site.31 But single atoms have charges as well. When sodium atoms contact chlorine atoms, the lone electron on sodium moves into the open orbital of chlorine to form a pair - the sodium atom becomes a positively charged Sodium Ion; the chlorine atom becomes a negatively charged Chlorine Ion

When sodium atoms contact chlorine atoms, an electron is transferred to produce a positively-charged sodium ion and a negatively-charged chloride ion.

In the solid crystalline form, sodium and chloride ions are in a ridged lattice but, as they dissolve in water, both ions become surrounded by water molecules to delocalize and stabilize their charges.

In the solid crystalline form, sodium and chloride ions are in a ridged lattice but, as they dissolve in water, both ions become surrounded by water molecules to delocalize charge.

In this way, surrounding water molecules accept part of the positive charge of the sodium ion and those around the chloride ion, part of its negative charge.32 In fact, small ions like sodium tightly bind four or six water molecules around them and have several additional layers of water molecules more loosely bond in a spherical form.32 Although these hydrating water molecules accept a portion of the charge, central nuclear charges are so strong that they continually draw a finite number of polar water molecules between them.

If the ions are far apart, water molecules between them simply orient their spins to help neutralize the charge.

If the ions are far apart, water molecules between them simply orient their spins to help neutralize the charge. However, opposite charges on the ions continually draw them together and water molecules within hydrogen-bonding distances. When this happens, a unique type of Charge-Transfer Reaction occurs.33

Charge-Transfer

In the strongly hydrogen-bonded trimer, a proton moves through the central molecule to the other end to produce a negative hydroxide ion and positive hydronium ion.

In trimers, the small positively-charged proton nucleus of a hydrogen atom on one water molecule moves into the electron pair lobe of the adjacent molecule. This converts the acceptor molecule into a positively-charged Hydronium Ion and leaves the donor as a negatively-charged Hydroxide Ion. In pure water, only about one in a million (10-7) molecules undergoes this spontaneous Ionization Reaction at any instant, but in water containing ions like sodium and chloride, it is another mechanism by which the charge potentials on ions and molecules are minimized and partly neutralized.5,33

If sodium chloride is dissolved in water, water molecules between the ions rotate to delocalize charge but also transfer protons through water to produce counter ions.

By transferring protons from one hydrogen-bonded water molecule to the next, in cascade fashion, water molecules bound to each ion can assume an opposite charge and provide even broader neutralization of charge. Although the process appears complex, proton pulses resonate as quantized waves back and forth between the ions. By the above mechanisms, about 90% of the charge of the sodium ion is transferred to water.5,33

It is important to point out that potassium ions and other large ions, produce entirely different effects on surrounding water. With a larger number of electrons around their central positively-charged cores, they do not bind water molecules in spherical forms - they move rapidly through water and simply alter the rotation of water molecules as they pass - they increase the mobility and randomness of water rather than binding water in thermodynamic spherical forms around them like sodium ions.32 This difference in the effect of these two ions on local water is critical to the function of cells. A detailed description of the role of these two ions in nerve and muscle cells will be included in the Evolution Section.

Since ionization in pure water is extremely low, pure water is an insulator - but sea water, like water within cells, is a good conductor because it contains about 3% sodium chloride. At low external voltages, current is carried through salt water primarily by the ions but, if the voltage is high enough, water molecules align between ions as transient linear elements and pulses are transferred like lightning bolts by protons cascading through polarized linear segments of hydration from one ionic center to the next. In the axons of large nerve cells, this transfer of protonic charge along the inner surfaces of the membranes permits extremely rapid, almost superconductive, transfer of charge.21

Dielectric Transient Linear Elements of Hydration

Before we discuss evolution, it is important to view a class of small nucleic acids in the same way as we viewed insulin. Since nucleic acids are coated with anionic phosphates, assembly and stability are established by the dielectric property of linear elements of hydration which form between the negatively-charged oxygen atoms of phosphates. Like insulin, cubic patterning of external surfaces of transfer-RNA (t-RNA) molecules is important because they bind to multiple sites in ribosomes which synthesize proteins. As will be illustrated later, stabilization is most likely achieved by transient hydration bridging, 2 to 6 water molecules in length, in multiple orientations.

As illustrated above, nucleic acids, like the transfer RNA molecules, tend to form geometric figures to permit water to linearize and stabilize their high surface charge.

Virtually every living cell contains twenty or more of these t-RNA molecules, one for each of the aminoacids.34 Later, we will explain how they function but, like insulin, they are produced as straight linear elements and wrap spontaneously in saline solution to produce the spatial structure shown on the left above. Again, like insulin, they satisfy cubic patterning in order to fit into receptor sites in ribosomes which assemble polypeptides. On the right above, a t-RNA molecule is shown bound to an enzyme which attaches an amino acid to the end.35 Once again, the complex conforms to the same quantized cubic patterning to provide for surface hydration stabilization. As will be illustrated later, most water-soluble enzymes do not exhibit cubic patterning on their outer surfaces because surface groups disrupt transient linear hydration to increase solubility. However, all of them have surface regions where water forms transient linear elements to span between polar and charged atoms and permit reversible binding of reaction substrates, regulator molecules and other proteins.

Thus, in the early evolution of natural molecules, it was energy from the sun which tied small molecules together to produce larger more-complex functional units. However, based on the Transient Linear HydrationHypothesis, as presented above, it was the formation of short-lived linear elements of hydration on ordering surfaces and between oppositely-charged centers which directed folding, assembly, motions and interactions. It was the extremely-rapid formation of short-lived linear elements of hydration which dramatically-limited the options of molecular forms which could form and be stable.11 Molecules which satisfied the spatial requirements of transiently-ordered linear elements of surface hydration survived - those which could not assemble spontaneously into stable forms were hydrolyzed back to the molecules from which they came. Those with surface regions of coordinating hydration order formed functional reproductive assemblies - those with totally random surface hydration were not reproduced.

Of course, we will never know exactly how the molecules of life were formed because there is no record but the following story, based on theTLH hypothesis, provides one explanation of how it might have all begun

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