On the possible role of protein vibrations in information processing in the brain three Russian dolls

Author proposes that for computational purposes biological systems not only use neural networks at their mesoscopical scale, being a neuron the minimum computational unit, but that the computational capacities are replicated also inside each neuron, taking in consideration at a lower level microtubules and at ever lower level proteins, those last being the elements to which this article is devoted.

In concrete, he interestingly explain how:

" All molecules thermally vibrate at particular frequencies and emit two types of noise—high frequency ‘‘white’’ noise by small molecules (such as water and metal ions) and medium frequency ‘‘colored’’ noise by large molecules (such as proteins; Al-Khalili and McFadden, 2014). The bends and twists of the peptide chain of proteins are flexible and cause the chain to emit signals composed of colored noise, but only at specific frequencies. The frequency is determined by the aminoacid sequence and the conformation and movements of the protein molecule. Thus each protein will have a signature dynamic pattern of colored noise in the form of a number of peaks in its noise emission spectrum, in which the number, size and frequency of the peaks will vary. Thus, changing these conditions in one protein in a heteroreceptor complex by some stimulus will lead immediately to a change in the conformation and noise emission spectra of all the proteins in the complex." {Credits 1}

Although he mentions that those “thermal” vibrations in proteins are now know to be strongly coupled collective vibrations, as can be see in this subsection of the web [1] he don’t underline a biophysical consequence of the bipolar electric characteristic of proteins that, if they vibrate, can generate electromagnetic fields. Furthermore in recent investigations [2] notable general electrical properties for proteins has been observed , which underline this last possibility.

On the other side is good that as is proposed in the main theory in this website [3] a nested hierarchical computation is working in the brain that take in consideration also microtubules (that also have electromagnetic properties [4]), but in this web the idea is more generalized, and computation or consciousness is in all biological systems at all scales and not only in the brain components.

Moreover, from the paper it appears that computation is made at molecular level, witch is not exactly the idea proposed here, here the idea is that ‘computation’ is an analogical scenario driven by the multitude of electromagnetic fields of all kind interacting and coupling/uncoupling together, being at the same time the conscious qualia, and being, on the other side, the molecular o the more physical level the substrate for memory (and a structural support to the fields to operate).

{Credits 1} 🎪 Smythies J (2015) On the possible role of protein vibrations in information processing in the brain: three Russian dolls. Front. Mol. Neurosci. 8:38. © 2015 Smythies. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

[1] EMMIND › Endogenous Fields & Mind › Endogenous Electromagnetic Fields › EM Various › Biomolecular interaction, recognition and binding mediated by electromagnetic field

[2] Lindsay, S. (2020). Ubiquitous Electron Transport in Non-Electron Transfer Proteins. Life, 10(5), 72.

[3] EMMIND › Endogenous Fields & Mind › Endogenous Electromagnetic Fields › EM Mind - Principal › Electromagnetic Mind Main Theory and directly related experimental results

[4] EMMIND › Endogenous Fields & Mind › Endogenous Electromagnetic Fields › Electromagnetism & Microtubules

Last modified on 27-Jul-20

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