On regularities in the spontaneous formation of structural hierarchies in chiral systems of nonliving and living matter
We review a general regularity observed in the spontaneous formation of alternating-sign L—D hierarchies of chiral structures that are initially unbalanced due to homochirality. Mechanical, hydrodynamic, macromolecular, and liquid-crystal systems, as well as proteins and nucleic acids, are considered. Biomacromolecule chirality is related to the presence of the asymmetric carbon atom and, further, to the formation of helical and superhelical intra- and supramolecular structures. Chirality is a physical vehicle that generates stratification and folding in biological macromolecular systems. The hierarchy of alternating-sign chiral structures underlies a periodic molecular biologic cell system.