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Special Issue "From Nanomachine to Nanobrain, Information Processing at a Molecular Scale"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Youri Timsit
Guest Editor
Institut Méditerranéen d¹Océanologie, Bât. Méditerranée, Campus de Luminy-Océanomed, 13288 Marseille Cedex 9, France
Interests: Structural biology, network
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanomachines are the culmination of a conception of Life that took its roots in the second half of the 20th century, with the appearance of molecular biology. While this metaphor highlights the extraordinary properties of biological macromolecules, it is in line with the dominant ideology of the 21st century, which considers life (and human) according to its model of economic production. From slot to learning machines, the semantic field of machines irrevocably brings us back to an anthropomorphic concept of manufactured objects whose functions are to efficiently accomplish a repetitive task. However, can living beings from their smallest to their highest level of organization be compared to machines? Can this metaphor bias our understanding of biology, mislead us on the notion of function, and divert our attention from the essential properties of molecules that do not fit into the concept of the machine?

Unlike living beings, machines have severe limitations, which were masterfully illustrated in Charlie Chaplin's film "Modern Times". Everyone remembers the highly comical effect that a feeding machine can produce without feedback. Much less funny is to observe the ecological disasters caused by machines and their great designers. Like Chaplin, metazoans understood early on that they needed sensorimotor circuits to synchronize and adapt their motions to their fluctuating environment. What about LUCA and the subsequent unicellular life forms? Many unicellular organisms such as Amoeba, Paramecium, and Physarum polycephalum exhibit indeed complex behaviors although they do not possess nervous circuits. Recent studies have also shown that organelles such as ribosomes possess complex r-protein networks that probably play a role equivalent to that of nervous circuits, at a molecular scale. Has life developed molecular circuits that perform the roles of nervous systems in single cells or even organelles? Although artificial intelligence is very much in vogue today, focusing on “natural intelligence” and its earlier forms can be promising in many areas, from antibiotic resistance to nanotechnology. Thus, this Special Issue proposes to explore the properties of molecular networks involved in information processing.

Dr. Youri Timsit
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessReview
Biomolecular Basis of Cellular Consciousness via Subcellular Nanobrains
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2545; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22052545 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 611
Cells emerged at the very beginning of life on Earth and, in fact, are coterminous with life. They are enclosed within an excitable plasma membrane, which defines the outside and inside domains via their specific biophysical properties. Unicellular organisms, such as diverse protists [...] Read more.
Cells emerged at the very beginning of life on Earth and, in fact, are coterminous with life. They are enclosed within an excitable plasma membrane, which defines the outside and inside domains via their specific biophysical properties. Unicellular organisms, such as diverse protists and algae, still live a cellular life. However, fungi, plants, and animals evolved a multicellular existence. Recently, we have developed the cellular basis of consciousness (CBC) model, which proposes that all biological awareness, sentience and consciousness are grounded in general cell biology. Here we discuss the biomolecular structures and processes that allow for and maintain this cellular consciousness from an evolutionary perspective. Full article
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