Systems Cell: A Testable Model for Systems Holism



AK Mukhopadhyay, 2015

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The equations of physical world are bereft of causality. On the other hand, the relational matrix between two or more organelles or organisms is inclusively causal because of operational presence of consciousness and other potent factors like ‘life’, self, mind and information within the system. Standing on the computational platform of informational molecules of systems biology what is that decision-making ware which makes cell’s response solution-centric as well as holographic? Embedded within what is observable, measurable and reducible into parts, this paper tries to answer this question and develops how the causal operations of information, mind, self, life and consciousness connect signature informational molecules with wisdom of cellular consciousness. The entire relationship has been presented as multilayered and hierarchically nested labyrinthine ware. Systems cell can be used as a model of systems holism and be tested with the credible data from molecular mapping and multidimensional live cell image analysis.




Cell is a living dynamic system, which is complex, not chaotic nor random. There is order and coherence in the molecular dynamics of cell as evidenced from molecular mapping and multidimensional live-cell image analysis. Cell also has a symmetry-retaining, symmetry-breaking and symmetry-making dynamics, which connects the recordable molecular dynamics with the complexity of its decision-making matrix. The property like intelligence, choice, wakefulness, symmetry-sensing and symmetry-alteration by creation of new information, in addition to cognition, emotion, will and wisdom, emerge from the decision-making matrix of the cell. The complexity is created by astronomical bits of information cell handles as a hologram of nature-consciousness. The cell responds holographically for a solution towards its commitment. It responds as a whole and it is solution-centric. The systems biology (epigenome-genome-proteome-metabolome-metalome) offers only the tip of the iceberg. The main chunk of ice remains in the submerged non-observable plane. The phenomenon in “supramolecular chemistry” of Lehn Jean-Marie [1] in the context of killing of a cancer cell by natural killer cell takes the cell dynamics to some not-clearly-identifiable operations beyond conventional molecular chemistry. Naturally, question arises could science spell those out in a cell? Is there any intangible decision-making ware distributed inside cell that contains not merely binary information, the digital reality as in algorithm of ordinary ‘software’, but the operations of mind, self, life and consciousness as well! Through a review of the emergent phenomena within a cell and their molecular signatures, this paper suggests cell has such decision-making ware which is multilayered and hierarchically nested, appears as labyrinth consisting of definable operations, guided by information, signals and often noise and in the process develops a model of behavioral cell-dynamics rooted in consciousness extending from the computational platform of informational molecules operating in systems biology.


Scanning of phenomena for decision-making hierarchy in Cell


Distinction between signal transmission and information transfer in cell biology is not easy. No one invokes information in signal transmission through synapses in autonomic or somatic ganglia. Information processing requires more subtlety than signal transmission as seen in cerebral cortex where each neuron is surrounded by seven to ten astrocytes and the synapse is tripartite (two neurons, one astrocyte). One astrocyte is said to modulate approximately two million synapses [2]. The phenomenon, which is difficult to understand at tissue or system level in biology (the human body is made up ap-proximately 1012 to 1016 cells) would not be easier at cellular level. It seems signal works in the physical material plane, and information operates both in matter and mind. The mind or mind-like structure and process inside a cell could be identified by its behavioral property of selecting information endlessly from signals and noise. Simple phenomenon like stimulus-excitation coupling can be explained by activity of voltage-gated Na+-K+ ion channel. However, biochemical-mechanical coupling like ex-citation–contraction coupling appears more complex, cannot be explained merely by Ca++ ion channel activity as a mindless event for a cell when the operation in the ware under discussion could modulate its gating mechanism as evident, so far, in a larger scale of behavior analysis of an unconscious patient who retains sphincter control (does not pass urine stool involuntarily in bed) till such time his mind continues to operate in that state.


Molecules working within or on the cell could be categorized into three broad groups; definitively informational (‘agent’ in business language) like DNA, RNA, enzymes etc., definitively non-informational, (‘non-agent’, ‘non-client’ in business language) such as water soluble excretory molecules like creatine, creatinine, urea, uric acid and so on, and those which carry information only about their self-identity to be recognized by corresponding in-formational molecules (client-agent relationship in business language), for example, glucose recognized by glucose receptor, LDL-cholesterol recognized by LDL receptor and so on. For a non-informational molecule to become informational it necessitates conformational or configurational change such as folding, clustering, ensembling, lattice formation or polymerization, or dilution of the solvent etc. Information is sensitive to appropriateness of its vehicle, both matter and mind.

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