Scientists discover signalling circuit boards inside body’s cells - may 2, 2019
Excerpt: Cells in the body are wired like computer chips to direct signals that instruct how they function, research suggests.
Unlike a fixed circuit board, however, cells can rapidly rewire their communication networks to change their behaviour.
The discovery of this cell-wide web turns our understanding of how instructions spread around a cell on its head.
It was thought that the various organs and structures inside a cell float around in an open sea called the cytoplasm.
Signals that tell the cell what to do were thought to be transmitted in waves and the frequency of the waves was the crucial part of the message.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found information is carried across a web of guide wires that transmit signals across tiny, nanoscale distances.
It is the movement of charged molecules across these tiny distances that transmit information, just as in a computer microprocessor, the researchers say. … Professor Mark Evans, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, said: “We found that cell function is coordinated by a network of nanotubes, similar to the carbon nanotubes you find in a computer microprocessor.
“The most striking thing is that this circuit is highly flexible, as this cell-wide web can rapidly reconfigure to deliver different outputs in a manner determined by the information received by and relayed from the nucleus. This is something no man-made microprocessors or circuit boards are yet capable of achieving.”