We have developed experimental approaches for the construction of protocellular structures under simulated primitive earth conditions and studied their formation and characteristics. Three types of envelopes; protein envelopes, lipid envelopes, and lipid-protein envelopes are considered as candidates for protocellular structures. Simple protein envelopes and lipid envelopes are presumed to have originated at an early stage of chemical evolution, interaction mutually and then evolved into more complex envelopes composed of both lipids and proteins. Three kinds of protein envelopes were constructed in situ from amino acids under simulated primitive earth conditions such as a fresh water tide pool, a warm sea, and a submarine hydrothermal vent. One protein envelope was formed from a mixture of amino acid amides at 80 degrees C using multiple hydration-dehydration cycles. Marigranules, protein envelope structures, were produced from mixtures of glycine and acidic, basic and aromatic amino acids at 105 degrees C in a modified sea medium enriched with essential transition elements. Thermostable microspheres were also formed from a mixture of glycine, alanine, valine, and aspartic acid at 250 degrees C and above. The microspheres did not form at lower temperatures and consist of silicates and peptide-like polymers containing imide bonds and amino acid residues enriched in valine. Amphiphilic proteins with molecular weights of 2000 were necessary for the formation of the protein envelopes. Stable lipid envelopes were formed from different dialkyl phospholipids and fatty acids. Large, stable, lipid-protein envelopes were formed from egg lecithin and the solubilized marigranules. Polycations such as polylysine and polyhistidine, or basic proteins such as lysozyme and cytochrome c also stabilized lipid-protein envelopes.