Communication within and between proteins is critical to cell health. Proteins set up instant messaging networks to track status and coordinate behavior.
Proteins are complex, sentient molecules. They self-regulate through atomic communication networks using multiple molecules of the same type (oligomers).
“This involves the transient sharing of a proton between 2 heteroatoms, forming low-barrier hydrogen bonds,” explained German physical chemist Ricardo Mata et al. Proteins transmit “a signal through the collective repositioning of protons by behaving as an atomistic Newton’s cradle.”
This is the most efficient chemical communication means possible. Variable electron orbitals comprise the language proteins use to communicate.
Shown below is a Newton’s cradle.
Shaobo Dai et al, “Low-barrier hydrogen bonds in enzyme cooperativity,” Nature 573: 609–613 (18 September 2019).
“Instant messaging in proteins discovered: Researchers unravel fundamental communication processes in proteins,” ScienceDaily (19 September 2019).