Questions & Answers

Coacervates are
(a) Protobionts having polysaccharides + protein + water
(b) Protein aggregate
(c) Protein and lipid aggregates
(d) None of the above

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Hint: Coacervates are a self-organized spherical collection of lipids which is considered as a stepping stone toward the origin of life. They are surrounded by a layer of water that serves as a barrier. They contain polymeric chains of amino acids and phosphodiester linked nucleotides.

Complete answer:
Coacervates are protobionts having polysaccharides, proteins, and water. An aqueous phase that is rich in macromolecules like synthetic polymers, nucleic acids, or proteins is called ‘coacervate’. The term coacervate was coined by Hendrik de Jong while studying lyophilic colloid dispersions. The concept was later carried forward by a biologist named Oparin. He considered them as macromolecular aggregates of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Oparin and Haldane independently hypothesized that coacervates could be the first cells in early oceans.

Additional Information:
-Like the membrane-less organelles that exist in biological cells, complex coacervate droplets are also membrane-less.
-Their features include easy formation, selective encapsulation of biomolecules, high viscosity, dynamic behavior, and response to environmental stimuli.
-They have been used in the cytoplasm and the nucleus.
-Coacervates as membrane-less organelles serve a variety of functions. They can store and protect the material within the cell during stress conditions.
So, the correct answer is, ‘Protobionts having polysaccharides + protein + water.’

Note: -Protobiont is also called a protocell.
-Coacervates exhibit such features that they serve as an excellent option for synthesizing artificial membrane-less organelles.
-These artificial membrane-less organelles are not separated from the surrounding by a lipid bilayer like classic membrane-bound organelles.