Yes indeed, Life is complicated. To explain the complexities of Life, Rudolf made important contributions to the understanding of Cells, the Building Blocks of Life. Rudolf is reborn as Rudi to explain the complexities of Life by the study of the Molecules of Life.
SPIRITUALISM – THE MOLECULAR BASIS OF SPIRITUALITY:
The molecules and processes responsible for energy acquisition, energy manipulation, growth and reproduction are basically similar in all life-forms. To understand life, consideration must be given to describe the molecules that determine its structure and to the ways in which molecules are organized. The Molecular Basis of Spirituality describes the organization of molecules that is responsible for the coordination of living functions and living activities of life-forms. Spiritualism involves the capacity or capability to organize molecules to establish the reality of biological existence by any life-form. To explain the Molecular Basis of Spirituality, I would begin with the simplest life-forms that we know.
THE FOUNDERS OF VIROLOGY – THE STUDY OF VIRUSES:
I am glad to pay my respectful tribute to Dmitri Ivanovsky, Russian Botanist, and to Martinus Beijerinck, the Dutch Microbiologist, the founders of Virology, the Study of Viruses. Ivanovsky studied the Tobacco Mosaic Disease during 1892. By conducting experiments he had demonstrated that the disease is caused by a filterable agent smaller than bacteria. In 1898, Beijerinck independently replicated Ivanovsky’s experiments and found that the infectious agent could only reproduce by infecting leaves of the Tobacco plant. He named the mysterious infectious agent as Tobacco Mosaic Virus- the first Virus recognized.
THE STUDY OF VIRUSES, VIRIONS, VIROIDS, AND VIRUSOIDS:
Viruses are small masses of material (100 – 2,000 angstrom), complex molecular life-forms that blur the boundaries of living and non-living material. Most Viruses are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. They are extremely small and can only be seen with an electron microscope. As compared to light microscope, electron microscope can increase magnification from 1,000 – 2,000 diameters to around 300, 000 diameters. Viruses are 1,000 times more plentiful in water than originally suspected and hence Viruses could be the most numerous life-forms on Earth. Many hundreds of different types of Viruses exist and all of them need living cells to serve them as hosts. Viruses can only complete their life cycles as parasites as they reproduce only within the cells of their hosts, upon which they depend for many of their fundamental life processes. While many Viruses are harmless to their hosts, certain Viruses are responsible for important diseases of humans, animals, and plants. Many Viruses are known to man by the specific disease entities that they cause: Smallpox, Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps, Yellow fever, Polio myelitis, Rabies, Influenza, and the Common Cold. All of us without any exception would get the chance of experiencing the bouts of one or the other Viral infections.
A complete virus particle or Virion consists of one molecule of Nucleic Acid, single or double-stranded, either DNA or RNA depending on the specific Virus. It has a protein coat called Capsid which consists of a specific number of protein molecules or Capsomers in a definitive arrangement. In some Viruses, the outer coat has lipid (fat) and carbohydrate. The protein coat helps the survival of the Virus while it exists outside a living cell. The protein coat is also concerned with the mechanisms by which the Virus enters and infects the host cell.
During the stage of its life cycle, when the Virus is free and infectious, the virus particle or Virion is inert, and does not carry out the usual functions of a living entity, such as reproduction or growth in numbers. The propagation of a Virus requires the internal environment of a complete cell, including its biochemical machinery. The Virus loses the protein coat upon entry into a cell, after which the genetic material of the Virus reproduces using materials made by the host cell. The Virus leaves the host cell surrounded by the protein coat, the characteristics of these protein molecules are determined by the genes in the Virus, but the protein molecules are synthesized by the host cell. Viruses are often described as “naked genes” which have discarded all other attributes of complete cells. The Virion or virus particle contains the knowledge or biological information that is needed for its replication. However, to perform that reproductive function, a Virus needs the host cell’s chemical energy, and protein-and nucleic-acid synthesizing ability.
Viroids and Virusoids are the smallest and simplest form of all recognized Viruses and Self-replicating Molecules. Viroids are composed of nothing more than a single circular strand of genetic material and cause major disease in plants. Since Viroids lack the protective shell of protein, they do not even spread easily from one cell or plant to another. The genetic material of Viroid is RNA which has a length of only a few hundred ribonucleotides (200-400). Viroids are described as molecules of “naked RNA” that are significantly smaller than the genome of the smallest Virus. They are also called ‘subviral particles’. Viroids/Virusoids “infect” other Viruses, and use the replication process of the host Virus to replicate themselves instead. Viroids are responsible for a number of serious diseases of economically important plants like the Coconut Palm and Chrysanthemums. Episomes are pieces of self-replicating genetic molecules found in some bacterial cells. These are similar to Viruses except for the fact that they only reproduce themselves when their host cells do, whereas Viruses reproduce themselves hundreds of times and often generate the signs and symptoms of the infectious disease they cause in the host.
RNA MOLECULE AS GENETIC MATERIAL:
The RNA-containing Viruses are unique among living systems. They use RNA as their primary genetic material. Retroviruses produce the enzyme called RNA-directed DNA Polymerase or Reverse Transcriptase, which can make a DNA molecule from the Viral RNA molecule. This DNA molecule formed from RNA then serves as the principal genetic molecule within the infected, host cell. Retrovirus uses a life process that is termed ‘reverse transcription’. Two Retroviruses are associated with human leukemias which are Cancers of T-cells. The Retrovirus known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is responsible for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS.
THE NUCLEIC ACID MOLECULE – THE ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE OF LIFE:
Nucleic Acids are organic substances that are characteristic of all living things. These organic molecules are not found in nature except as components or products of organisms. They are called macromolecules; molecules of molecular weight greater than 10,000 daltons or 10,000 times the weight of a Hydrogen atom. These molecules are long chains or polymers that consist of chains of smaller units called monomers. Each Nucleic Acid chain is composed of subunits called nucleotides, each of which is composed of a specific sugar molecule (Deoxyribose or Ribose), a molecule of Phosphoric Acid, and a molecule of one of four organic bases: Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine (C), and Thymine (T). The two chief types of Nucleic Acid are DNA(Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid), and RNA(Ribo Nucleic Acid). DNA contains the sugar deoxyribose and RNA contains the sugar ribose, and the base Uracil (U) instead of Thymine (T). The specific sequences of nucleotides constitute the genetic information of the life-form. Each three-nucleotide sequence specifies one particular amino acid. The long sequences of nucleotides thus correspond to the sequences of amino acids in the proteins that are synthesized. In order to be expressed as protein, the genetic information is carried to the protein-synthesizing machinery called Ribosomes found in the cytoplasm of the cell. Forms of RNA mediate this process and are important in the expression of the genetic code contained in the DNA for the synthesis of proteins. Although the triplet nucleotide code seems to be universal, the actual sequences of the nucleotides vary according to the species and individual organism.
The Nucleic Acid Molecules, DNA/RNA is the substance of heredity; it carries the ‘essence’ or character of an organism from one generation to next generation. But, in the study of Viruses we have found that this ‘essence’ is not displayed until its ‘existence’ is supported and is established in a complete living cell. The Nucleic Acid Molecules do not have the capacity or capability of acquiring energy from their external environment. The Virion or virus particle is inert until it finds a host cell to establish its life as a living thing. The Nucleic Acid Molecules are important to establish the ‘essence’ of an organism. I inform my readers that I find the characteristics called ‘Spiritualism’ or ‘Spirituality’ in the functional organization of those Molecules that establish the ‘existence’ of a living entity.
THE MOLECULAR BASIS OF SPIRITUALITY: ESSENCE vs EXISTENCE:
The purpose and goal of Spiritualism or Spirituality is that of generating Peace, Harmony, and Equilibrium in all functional relationships within the Individual and between members of the Biotic or Biological Community. The disease, the disability, the morbidity, and death caused by Viral infections demonstrate the consequences of Biotic Interactions called Parasitism. The functional organization of a variety of Molecules that provide the functional ability called ‘Existence’ that establishes a living entity is the chief attribute of the ground substance found inside the Living, Complete Cell and the viral particles have no such functional organizational capacity or capability. The Spirit or Soul represents the ‘Knower’ of the Function and is the Architect of Molecular Organization that causes ‘Existence’. The role of various other Molecules, the Molecules concerned with Life, found in living cells will be given further consideration in my next blog post to demonstrate the ‘spiritual’ nature of the Protoplasm, the ground substance, the living material, or living matter that constitutes Life.
Rudolf is reborn as Rudi to describe the spiritual connection between the Cell and its Energy Provider
Rudi acknowledges his German heritage at Whole Foods when he discovered the spiritual connection between man, food, and Providence. Whole Foods, Whole People, and Whole Planet are connected by a material substance called Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, a divine plan to provide nourishment to Life.
The Rudolf and Rudi Connection at Whole Foods, Ann Arbor can be best described as the concept of Whole Spirituality, the three dimensional spiritual relationship between the multicellular human organism, food, and the Divine Providence.
SPIRITUALISM – THE CELL THEORY OF SPIRITUALITY:
In Biology, cell is the basic or fundamental unit of structure, function, and organization in all living things or it is the building block of life. Let me begin with my respectful tribute to some of the people who contributed to ‘The Cell Theory’, one of the foundations of Biological Sciences. Cells were first observed in the 17th century shortly after the discovery of the microscope. Robert Hooke, british curator of instruments at The Royal Society of London, during 1665 coined the word cell. Dutch microscopist Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) made over 247 microscopes and examined microorganisms and tissue samples. He gave the first complete descriptions of bacteria, protozoa (which he called animalcules), spermatozoa, and striped muscle. He also studied capillary circulation and observed Red Blood Cells.
Improvements in microscopy during early 19th century permitted closer observation and the significance of cells had received better understanding. Matthias Jakob Schleiden (1838), german botanist, Theodor Schwann (1839), german physiologist, and Rudolf Virchow (1855), german pathologist, and others made important contributions to the Cell Theory that describes cell as the building block of all Life.
The Cell is the smallest unit in the living organism that is capable of carrying on the essential life processes of sustaining metabolism for producing energy and reproducing. Many simple, small, single-celled organisms like Protozoa perform all life functions. In higher, complex, bigger, multicellular organisms, groups of cells are structurally and functionally differentiated into specialized tissues and organ systems. Thus, the Cell Theory includes the following foundational principles of the Biological Sciences:
1. All living things are made up of cells. Cell is the most elementary or basic unit of Life.
2. Cell is a fundamental unit of structure, function, and organization in all living things including plants and animals.
3. Cells only rise from division of previously existing cells.
4. All cells are similar in composition, form, and function. All cells are basically the same in chemical composition (in spite of variations) in organisms of similar species. For example, all the solid tissues in the human body can be shown to consist largely of similar cells; differing it is true, but that are essentially similar to an Ovum.
5. The cells exhibit functional autonomy. The activity of an organism depends on the total activity of ‘INDEPENDENT’ cells.
6. Energy flow (metabolism and biochemistry) occurs within cells.
7. Cells contain hereditary, biological information (DNA) which is passed from cell to cell during cell division.
THE CELL THEORY OF SPIRITUALITY:
The basic or fundamental unit of life in the human organism is derived from the fertilized egg cell that eventually develops into a complete organism. The most significant feature of similarity between the cells of the human body is the presence of a soft, gelatinous, semi-fluid, granular material inside the cell. This substance known as Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, or Cytosol is similar to the ground substance found in the Ovum or the Egg Cell.
This viscous, translucent, colloidal substance is enclosed in a membrane called Cell Membrane, Plasma Membrane or Biological Membrane. A small spherical body called nucleus is embedded in the Protoplasm of the cell. The three essential features of any living cell in the human body are that of the presence of protoplasm, the nucleus, and the cell membrane.
PROTOPLASM – THE GROUND SUBSTANCE OF SPIRITUALISM AND SPIRITUALITY:
I seek the existence of Soul or Spirit in a substance that is basic to life activities, and in a material that is responsible for all living processes. I, therefore, propose that the understanding of the true or real nature of this ground substance of all living matter will help man to discover peace, harmony, and tranquility in all of his internal and external relationships while man exists in a physical environment as a member of a social group, social community, and Society. In this blog post, I would like to pay my respectful tribute to Jan Evangelista Purkinje and Hugo Von Mohl for their great contribution to the scientific understanding of the living substance, living material, and living matter.
Purkinje conducted his research on human vision at the University of Prague and later on, he served there as a Professor of Physiology (1850-69). He went to Germany and was appointed the Chair of Physiology and Pathology (1823-50) at the University of Breslau, Prussia. There Purkinje created the world’s first independent Department of Physiology (1839) and the first Physiological Laboratory (Physiological Institute, 1842). He is best known for his discovery of large nerve cells with many branching extensions found in the cortex of Cerebellum of the brain (Purkinje Cells, 1837). He discovered the fibrous tissue that conducts electrical impulses from the ‘pacemaker’ called Atrioventricular node or A-V node along the inside walls of the ventricles to all parts of the heart to help in Cardiac contractile function (Purkinje Fibers, 1839). In 1835, he invented and introduced the scientific term ‘Protoplasm’ to describe the ground substance found inside young animal embryo cells. He discovered the sweat glands of the skin (1833); he discovered the nine configuration groups of Fingerprints used in biometric identification of man (1823); he described the germinal vesicle or nucleus of the unripe ovum that now bears his name (1825), and he noted the protein digesting power of pancreatic extracts (1836).
Hugo Von Mohl named the granular, colloidal material that made up the main substance of the plant cell as “Protoplasm” in 1846. Purkinje invented the word, but Hugo gave more clarity, understanding, and knowing the nature of this ground substance. He viewed cell as an “elementary organ” and in Physiology he explained Protoplasm as an organ of Motion or Movement, Nutrition, and Reproduction. It is the preliminary material in cellular generation. He was the first to propose that new cells are formed by division of preexisting cells and he had observed this process of Cell Division in the algal cells of Conferva glomerata. His observations are very important to understand the Cell Theory that explains cells as the basic building blocks of Life. He was the first to investigate the phenomenon of the stomatal openings in leaves.
Protoplasm is a complex, viscous, translucent solution of such materials as salts and simple sugars with other molecules, mostly proteins and fats, in a colloidal state, that is dispersed but not dissolved in one another. Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen constitute more than 90 percent of Protoplasm.
It exhibits properties such as Protoplasmic Streaming or Cytoplasmic Streaming or Motion that is called “Amoeboid Movement.” It has the intrinsic power to change its shape and position. It has the power of Nutrition by which it can attract and obtain the materials necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter/environment.
The living functions such as Nutrition, Cellular Respiration, and Reproduction performed by Cytoplasm involve acquiring, processing, retaining, and using information to perform tasks in a sequential manner for a predetermined purpose and hence describe Consciousness, Memory, and Intelligence.
The terms Soul and Spirit belong to the materialistic realm where the Physical Reality of man’s biological existence is established. I have not yet discovered any good reason to use the terms Soul and Spirit as a metaphysical or transcendental Reality.
The Inheritance of Cytoplasmic Membrane or Cell or Plasma Membrane:
The Functions of Cytoplasmic Membrane or Cell Membrane or Biological Membrane:
1. Protection: It protects the cell from its surroundings or extracellular environment. Plant cell possess wall over the plasma membrane for extra protection and support.
2. Holding cell contents: Plasma membranes hold the semi fluid protoplasmic contents of the cell intact; thus keeping the individuality of the cell.
3. Selective Permeability: Cell membrane allows only selected or specific substances to enter into the cell and are impermeable to others.
- Gases like O2 and CO2 can diffuse rapidly in solution through membranes.
- Small compounds like H2O and methane can easily pass through where as sugars, amino acids and charged ions are transported with the help of transport proteins.
- The size of the molecules which can pass through the plasma membrane is 1-15 A0. This property is responsible for keeping a cell ‘as a cell’, an individual unit.
4. Shape: It maintains form and shape of the cell. It serves as site of anchorage or attachment of the cytoskeleton; thus providing shape to the cell (especially in animal cells without cell wall).
5. Organelles: Cell membrane delimits or covers all sub-cellular structures or organelles like nucleus, mitochondria, plastids, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, microbodies etc. thus protecting them form the surroundings and also helps in maintaining a constant internal environment.
6. Compartmentalization: Cell membrane separate the cells from their external environment and cell organelle from cytosol. It help the cells and their organelles to have their own microenvironments, structural and functional individuality.
7. Cell Recognition: With the help of glycolipids and glycoproteins on its surface, cell membranes are able to differentiate similar cells from dissimilar ones, foreign substances and cells own materials. Cell recognition is useful for tissue formation and defence against microbes.
8. Antigens: Cell membranes possess antigens which determine blood grouping, immune response, acceptance or rejection of a transplant (graft rejection by MHC’s on plasma membrane).
9. Microvilli: They are microscopic finger like projections of plasma membrane present on some cells like intestinal epithelial cells, which are involved in a wide variety of functions, including increasing surface area for absorption, secretion, cellular adhesion etc.
10. Sheaths of cilia and flagella: Cilia and flagella are projections from the cell; made up of microtubules which are covered by an extension of the plasma membrane.
11. Cytoplasmic bridges in plasmodesmata and gap junctions: Plasmodesmata in plant cells and gap junctions in animal cells; meant for intercellular transport and communication, form cytoplasmic bridges between adjacent cells through plasma membrane.
12. Endocytosis and Exocytosis: Bulk intake of materials or endocytosis occurs through development of membrane vesicles or invagination and engulfing by plasma membrane.
Exocytosis: It is reverse of endocytosis that provides for releasing waste products and secretory materials ot of the cells with the help of plasma membrane.
13. Impulse transmission in neurons: The transmission of a nerve impulse along a neuron from one end to the other occurs as a result of electrical changes across the plasma membrane of the neuron
14. Cell metabolism: Cell membranes control cell metabolism through selective permeability and retentivity of substances in a cell.
15. Electron transport chain in bacteria: In bacteria; Electron transport chain is located in cell membrane.
16. Osmosis through cell membrane: It is movement of solvent molecules (generally water) from the region of less concentrated solution to the region of high concentrated solution through a semi permeable membrane. Here the semi permeable membrane that helps in osmosis is the cell membrane. Eg: Root cells take up water from the soil by osmosis
17. Carrier proteins for active transport: They occur in the cell membranes and control active transport of substances. Example, GLUT1 is a named carrier protein found in almost all animal cell membranes that transports glucose across the bilayer or plasma membrane.
18. Plasma Membrane enzymes: Many enzymes are present on the plasma membrane with wide variety of catalytic activity. Example: Red blood cell plasma membranes contain a number of enzymes such as ATPases, anion transport protein, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, protein kinases, adenylate cyclase, acetylcholinesterase.
19. Cell Membrane Receptors: Receptor on the plasma membrane performs signal transduction, converting an extracellular signal into an intra-cellular signal. Membrane possess receptors for hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies and several other biochemicals.
20. Plasma membrane assisted Cell movements: Undulation and pseudopodia are cell membrane phenomenon involved in cell movement. Amoeba, macrophages and WBCs move with the helps of temporary organelles like pseudopodia. Pseudopods are temporary cytoplasmic projections of the cell membrane in certain unicellular protists such as Amoeba. Some mammalian cells such as fibroblasts can move over a solid surface by wave like undulations of the plasma membrane.
The Ground Substance of Spiritualism and Spirituality. The vital characteristics, the animating principles of Protoplasm could be known by observing Amoeba proteus. The Living Substance works as an organ of Motion or Movement, as an organ of Nutrition, and as an organ of Reproduction to generate new cells which have a life span of their own. In these physiological functions, I describe the characteristics such as Cognition, Consciousness, Memory, and Intelligence as spiritual attributes of Life as they bring functional unity and harmony in the interactions between different parts of the same individual organism while it exists in an environment as a member of a biological community.
THE SPIRITUALITY OF SUBSTANCE, FUNCTION, ORGANIZATION, ACTION, AND INTERACTIONS:
To establish the biological existence of the human organism, I add the concept of Spiritualism and Spirituality to the Cell Theory.
The Single Fertilized Egg Cell has ground substance that is of Spiritual nature and the Spiritualism and Spirituality consists of the following functional, and organizational characteristics:
1. The Cell is Conscious of its own existence and knows its internal condition and knows it external environment.
2. The Cell is intelligent and it has the cognitive abilities like perception and memory to acquire information, to retain information, to recall information, and to use information in the performance of its complex tasks in a sequential manner.
3. The Cell has the ability to show characteristics such as mutual cooperation, mutual tolerance, and display functional subordination and subservience while being independent.
4. The Cell grows, divides, and develops into a complete organism while it acquires substances and energy from an external environment. The power of Protoplasm/Cytoplasm to attract matter found in its external environment is called Nutrition. The Cell continuously transforms matter to build matter of its own kind for its own benefit to sustain its existence with its own identity and individuality. The Organism represents a social group or a biological community of Cells. The Spiritual nature of Protoplasm/Cytoplasm brings this functional harmony and unity in the Social Group or Biotic Community of Cells by bringing together its Essence and Existence.
5. The Cell Theory is incomplete for it does not describe the conditioned nature of the Cell’s existence. The Cell represents a Living System that is thermodynamically unstable. It requires a constant supply of matter and energy from its external environment to sustain its living functions. The concept of Whole Spirituality formulates the connection between the Cell and its external source of matter and energy.
The theoretical claims about Spirit and Soul, the religious and philosophical doctrines of Spiritualism and Spirituality must be verified using the Cell Theory that defines the human organism. To describe Soul or Spirit as nonmaterial or immaterial Self will not help man to know the real or true man.
Whole Foods, Whole People, and Whole Planet come together in a Wholesome Relationship as God is the Energy Provider, the Original Source of Matter and Energy for Life.