Sporopollenin as a naturally-selected molecular wire

Jay D. Wadhawan ,  Matthew J. Thomasson 

Department of Chemistry, University of Hull, Hull HU67RX, United Kingdom


The electrochemical interrogation of sporopollenin exines extracted from Lycopodium clavatum immobilised on graphite electrodes reveal the presence of hydroquinone-type functionalities contained within the carotenoid-like sporopollenin polymer. Electron hopping transport between individual quinol moieties over the retusoid trilete (approximated by a hemisphere) is computed to be highly rapid in acidic media, assuming the concerted proton transfer is not rate-limiting. It is suggested that the biological reason underpinning this form of natural selection is first to provide a physical and UV-shield, and second to confer the sporopollenin particles with a “diffusional protection” of the valuable genetic information contained within each retusoid against reactive oxygen species that would otherwise incur mutations within haploid DNA.

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Presentation: Poster at SMCBS'2007 International Workshop, by Matthew J. Thomasson
See On-line Journal of SMCBS'2007 International Workshop

Submitted: 2007-08-24 10:27
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44
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