Proteins are the molecules that are actively working during reactions. For example, in order for the electron transport chain (ETC) – the third stage of cellular respiration – to flow, a number of specific proteins must be present:
NADH and FADH2 carry the electrons to the protein complexes. Once there, ubiquinone and cytochrome C transport the electrons from complex to complex within the chain. At the end of the ETC, the ATP synthase enzyme is present, whereby it acts for the principal mechanism involved in the production of ATP.
This is one example amongst many. Although perhaps very obvious to all, it is worth reiterating here that respiration would not occur if it weren’t for the proteins involved.
MRS GREN is a way of remembering the seven processes an organism must consistently perform to count as being alive.
If we were to look into each one of these processes we would see that, at the core, they all consist of protein activity. Along the same lines, would it be fair to say that the molecule that controls life is in fact the protein and not DNA? Although unconventional and perhaps heretic, it remains a just observation.
Continuing from the above, we know that the way in which proteins work relies on their movement. If a protein is left alone it does not move, so what causes the activity of proteins? It comes down to the signals that they receive and abide by. Well where do these signals come from? The answer, very simply, is the environment. Hold that thought.
The most important statement in biology is named the central dogma. It says that biology begins with DNA, which leads to RNA and finally to the proteins. However, what is ignored in this statement is that the DNA does not control itself. Genes are activated or deactivated as a result of the movement of regulatory proteins. The positioning of these DNA proteins is in turn controlled by environmental influences. So effectively, perhaps the central dogma should be revised to say the following:
Environment > Regulatory Proteins > DNA > RNA > Proteins
The above also erases a particular argument against the protein as the molecule that controls life. One might say that in order for the protein to be present and a reaction to be carried out, the protein must first be made by the DNA (example of a reference to the central dogma). However, to this I say the following: If part of a DNA strand needs to make a certain protein, it will be able to do so thanks to the movement of the regulatory proteins (see previous paragraph).
So where does this take us?
We have devalued the importance of the DNA as the molecule that controls life.
We have disproved the myth that the “brain” of the cell is the nucleus, and have concluded that it is in fact the cell surface membrane.
We have brought attention to the protein, and stated its crucial role in living processes and hence, in life.
We have considered the activation of the protein, as we know that when undisturbed, it remains latent.
We have reiterated that the protein is in action only when triggered by a signal.
We have considered the origin of these signals, which ultimately, is the environment. This not only encompasses messages transmitted by the brain, but also those put in place by the environment: the fields, messages and molecules that are always present around us.
These concepts spur questions that unfortunately cannot all be discussed in this article, but please do not hesitate to ask. I also strongly recommend that you look up Professor Bruce Lipton, whose knowledge, studies and thoughts are what led me to write this article.