Microtubules - Nature's Quantum Computers?

Table of Contents
  1. A-C Immunoflurescent labeling of tubulin*
  2. Schematic representations of a MT.*
  3. A microtubule as a Cellular Automaton.*
  4. MAPs forming attachments between individual tubules.*
  5. Microtubule Cellular Automaton models.*
  6. Hypothetical traveling tubulin state wave (glider) in a microtubule.*
  7. Artist's rendition of microtubule gyrations.
  8. Artist's rendition of microtubule gyrations II
  9. Kaivarainen's model of interactions between microtubules mediated by coherent IR librational photons
  10. Schematic of quantum coherence among microtubules in three dendrites
  11. Tiny heliazoan sea urchin Actinosphaerium
  12. Cross-section of double spiral array of interconnected MTs
  13. Dendritic spine showing microtubule interacting with membrane receptors.

*From Jeffrey Satinover, Yale University, with permission

Figure 1

A-C Immunoflurescent labeling of tubulin, primary component of microtubules in cell cytoplasm (increasing resolution). D-F Structure of microtubules, showing tubulin dimer protein components of microtubules. G,H Structure of alpha and beta monomers comprising tubulin dimers.

Figure 2

Schematic representations of a MT. 
BOTTOM: Rolled-up dimers form a tube.
TOP: Unrolled, the dimers form a sheet that is 13 dimers wide.

Figure 3

A microtubule as a Cellular Automaton. (A) The conformation of the tubulin dimer changes depending on where a free electron resides (dark lettering). The alpha configuration is to the left, the beta configuration to the right of the double arrow. (B) Six tubulin dimers forming a cellular neighborhood. (C) A pattern formed by four tubulin dimers in the beta configuration (free electron in the beta sub-unit). (D) Rolled-up grid of tubulin dimers forms a MT.

Figure 4

MAPs (MT Associated Proteins) forming attachments between individual tubules. (a) LEFT: Unfolded MT section showing attached MAPs. (b) CENTER: Same array in tube configuration. (c) RIGHT: End on view of segments of five MTs attached by four protein bridges.

Figure 5

Microtubule Cellular Automaton models. Light cells are tubulins with an electron in the alpha sub-unit pocket. Dark cells are tubulins with an electron in the Microtubule Cellular Automaton models. Light cells are tubulins with an electron in the alpha sub-unit pocket. Dark cells are tubulins with an electron in the beta sub-unit pocket. Making  certain assumptions, these are some of the stable patterns predicted by Hameroff et al. 
A1 - A3: three states of a travelling wave. B - D: Gliders propagating through microtubule.

Figure 6

Hypothetical traveling tubulin state wave (glider) in a microtubule.

Figure 7

Artist's rendition of microtubule gyrations, by Yulla Lipschutz, circa 1986

Figure 8

Artist's rendition of microtubule gyrations II, by Yulla Lipschutz, circa 1986

Figure 9

Alex Kaivarainen's model of interactions between microtubules mediated by coherent IR librational photons, radiated by coherent water clusters (mesoscopic molecular Bose condensate). See: physics/0003045 at: http://arXiv.org/find/cond-mat,physics/1/au:+kaivarainen/0/1/0/past/0/1 and http://www.karelia.ru/~alexk.

Figure 10

Schematic of quantum coherence among microtubules in three dendrites connected by gap junctions. Microtubule-associated proteins "tune" quantum oscillations. Interior of portion of one microtubule is shown.

Figure 11

The tiny heliazoan sea urchin Actinosphaerium with projecting spiny axonemes. The axonemes are comprised of intertwined helices of microtubules, and retract in the presence of the anesthetic gas halothane. Such creatures are similar to fossils from the early Cambrian explosion, and may be among the first organisms to experience primitive consciousness.

Figure 12

Cross-section of double spiral array of interconnected MTs in single axoneme of actinosphaerium. Each cell has about one hundred long and rigid axonemes which are about 300 microns long, made up of a total of 3 x 109 molecules of tubulin (Roth et al., 1970; Dustin, 1985). Scale bar: 500 nm (with permission from L.E. Roth).

Figure 13

Dendritic spine showing microtubule interacting with membrane receptors.