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Plant Behaviour and Intelligence$
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Anthony Trewavas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199539543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539543.001.0001

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Cell organization and protein networks

Cell organization and protein networks

(p.232) Chapter 23 Cell organization and protein networks
Plant Behaviour and Intelligence

Anthony Trewavas

Oxford University Press

Biology is based systems; that is a set of constituents densely linked to each other. Systems exhibit emergent properties that simply result from the connections between the constituents. Evidence that the cytoplasm is an integrated structure is described. Just as brains are systems of nerve cells, cells are systems of macromolecules. The cytoplasm is a gel and this implies the presence of structured water built around protein molecules that reduces the movement of ions and proteins. Transient elevations of cytosolic Ca2+ during transduction, is thought to modify parts of its gel-like nature with far reaching consequences for access of protein kinases to protein substrates. Basic protein interaction analysis reveals a structure of hubs and connectors and a power law distribution of linkages amongst proteins. There is striking organisational similarity between the network configurations of brains, higher plants and cells that leads to robustness and behavioural plasticity. Interaction maps between all cellular proteins in some organisms have been constructed including those involving protein kinases and phosphatases. Some common motifs of protein-protein interaction have been described. Robustness to loss of particular constituents has been shown to involve multiple pathways of response. These provide a fail-safe mechanism that protects against the disorganising effect of extreme noise in protein production. The strength of connections between proteins is important, since modification of the strength will determine the direction of the flow of information from signals.

Keywords:   Systems structure, Cytoplasmic structure, Cytoplasmic gel, Protein interaction networks, Interactomes, Protein connection strength, Cellular robustness

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