Anatomy of the intelligent cell

(Selected features)

Explanations: click words on right hand side; Electron microscope close-ups: click arrow heads.


We believe that the following cellular compartments are essential for the intelligent control of cell movement [See ref 10]

Plasma membrane and cortex.. They correspond to the 'skin' and the 'musculatur' of a cell. One can break this part into small, autonomously moving units, called 'microplasts'. [See ref 8].Their very autonomy implies that cells contain some kind of control system which prevents the autonomous units from moving randomly and independently of each other. Otherwise the cell body would presumably go into uncontrolled convulsions or else freeze up altogether.

Bulk cytoplasm:Mitochondria, other organelles and intermediate filaments. This compartment comprises the actual cell body excluding the nucleus. It corresponds to the 'guts and inerds' of the cell body. Its main cytoskeletal component are the intermediate filaments, although microtubules travers this compartment everywhere. It contains the organelles, such as lysosomes and mitochondria.

Nucleus. From the point of view of the 'intelligent cell' the nucleus is the main library. It contains the blueprints and instructions that have evolved over one billion years of evolution, which tell the cell how to operate, how to rebuild itself (including its 'nerves' and 'brain') after every cell division, and how to act and interact with other cells as they build and maintain an organism.

But there is more. Its gene control systems handles huge numbers of signals that arise from within the nucleus and from its outside word, the cytoplasm. It seems to be structured as a hierarchy of levels of genomic instructions. Starting with genes which constitute the most basic level, transposons may belong to a meta-level in the sense that they represent instructions for genes. There may be a meta-meta-level of 'itinerons' that determine the destinations of transposons, and so forth. In short, the nucleus, far from being a 'dumb' library of the intelligent cell, is clearly an intelligent system in its own rights. We may be seeing here the first glimpse that intelligence is a fractal property: Intelligent ecologies contain intelligent populations,which contain intelligent organisms, which contain intelligent cells, which contain intelligent compartments, which contain...and so forth.

Centrosphere: Centrioles and radial array of microtubules. From the point of view of the 'intelligent cell' the centrosphere is the 'brain' of the cell. Analogous to our own bodies, it projects the 'eyes' in the form of a pair of centrioles. Likewise, its 'nerves' correspond to the radial array of microtubules connecting the centrosphere unbranchingly with the cellular 'musculature' contained in the cortex.