Using quantum chemical calculations, we model the pathways for synthesizing two purine nucleobases, adenine and guanine, in the gas-phase interstellar environment, surrounded by neutral atomic hydrogen (H ). H is found active in facilitating a series of fundamental proton transfer processes of organic synthesis, including bond formation, cyclization, dehydrogenation, and H migration. The reactive potential barriers were significantly reduced in the alternative pathways created by H , leading to a remarkable increase in the reaction rate. The presence of H also lowered the reactive activation temperature from 757.8 K to 131.5–147.0 K, indicating the thermodynamic feasibility of these pathways in star-forming regions where some of the reactants have been astronomically detected. Our findings suggest that H may serve as an effective catalyst for interstellar organic synthesis.
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