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Dynamic Programs in Cells
Nov 1, 2009

The molecular and genetic diversity in the environmental adaptation mechanisms found in the cells of living beings establishes the ground for fundamental changes in our knowledge about the cell and the sustainability of life. Scientists are astonished by the replication and regulation of genomes in accordance with requirements, particularly the careful placement of active genetic elements in different genetic loci (the specific location on the chromosome) and the coordinated control of the same. That in-cell signal networks are administered during the reconstruction of the genome chain to enable responses to the necessities of adaptation, as if the cell had a mind, has been demonstrated. Since the system that regulates transcription, i.e. the transfer of coded information from the DNA to the RNA, is equipped with the ability to reach the appropriate loci of the genome at the right time, in the right place, and in the right measure, the genetic information can be decoded in a proper way. In addition, the transcription control system plays a role in both the specific directing and random binding of the active genetic elements to their genome region. Increasing the variety of genetic information in this way leads to the production of new genetic information.

Decisions within the cell: mathematical and algorithmic character

In order to enable Escherichia coli bacteria to use lactose (disaccharide), the genetic information of the enzymes that have role in transporting the lactose into the cell and converting it into glucose is coded in the bacteria’s genome. The binding and decoding structure which enables the genes to be transcribed at the right time in the appropriate amount is called the operon. The operons are model mechanisms which work on the synthesis or destruction of every chemical molecule (metabolite). One of these, lactose operon, is a good example that demonstrates how the decoding information contained in DNA is regulated and controlled in the bacteria. E. Coli is equipped with a system that distinguishes lactose and glucose when they are combined and this system functions perfectly. Primarily, all of the existing glucose is consumed before the start of the production of those enzymes that splits lactose into glucose and galactose. It has been discovered that this operation in the bacteria is followed by an interaction between DNA sequences located on the upper part of the lactose gene and various molecules. The DNA sequences on the upper part of the gene are the signals that format DNA for transcription. These signals cause the decoding of the genes that interact with the transcription factors. While some of the signals in the relevant region of the genes are common in most genes, some others are specific.

The most basic interaction system of the genome-proteome (all proteins in cell) is the suppression of the lactose operon that is observed in E. Coli. This process depends on DNA-protein interactions which are based on a mutual relationship and it requires the existence of repeated DNA sequences. Tetramer lac1 protein control the lac operon binds to four repeating binding regions on the DNA. Since one dimer can be connected to one operator sequence, two dimers are connected to two operator region units, and as a result the result is a loop formation in the DNA structure. Consequently, because of the access of RNA polymerase to the promoter region, the pre-coding process of genes is hindered. If the hindering protein is in the form of a monomer, the operator displays a weak interaction with half of the sequence. In the dimer form there is a stable binding. For this reason, many procedures in the cell occur by working together and making a union of molecules. Since the loop shape of DNA stabilizes the structure, it prevents the RNA polymerase from being connected to the promoter region. In order to eliminate the blockage on the lac operon, the mutual relationship must be prevented by stimulatory molecules, such as lactose.

There is metabolic information in cells that measure and control the physiological condition. The sequences on the regulatory region of the lactose operator and the data concerning the physiological condition of the lactose and glucose metabolisms are analyzed in the cell which perceives the presence and the amount of glucose through the changes in the system that transports the glucose into the cell. The molecule that announces the presence of glucose in E.coli is cyclic-AMP and concentration of this molecule in the cell is inversely proportional to glucose. The level of this signal affects both the coding and regulation of genomic information. The protein that transports glucose into the cell contains a phosphate group; as it transports glucose into the cell, this carrier protein phosphorylates the glucose molecule thereby loosing its phosphate group. As a result, the proportion phosphorylated transport protein and those without phosphate provides information about the glucose level in the cell. The phosphorylated form of the carrier protein activates the adenosine cyclase enzyme. Through this enzyme, ATP is converted into cyclic-AMP. The cyclic-AMP level increases in the cell. Consequently, the situation that concerns the increasing concentration of the phosphorylated transfer protein and the cyclic-AMP is interpreted as non-existence of glucose in the cell. The CRP protein that binds to regulatory region of the lactose can only bind to this region in the presence of cyclic-AMP. The cyclic-AMP-CRP complex which is tied to the promoter region of the lactose gene speeds up the transcription of the lactose operon. Transcription rarely happens when there is no lactose. This is because the lactose repressor protein lacI, hinders the RNA polymerase reaching the lactose promoter region by binding to the operator of regulating region. The cell can sense the existence of lactose in a circuitous manner. Low levels of coded Permease enzyme on the lacY region transfer some lactose into the cell. The coded beta galactosidase on the lac Z region alters them into a sugar called allolactose. The allolactose is bound to the lacI repressor protein and changes its conformation. The allolactose –lacI repressor complex can not bind to the operator region. The promoter region, called LacP, of Lactose operon is set free for transcription. In fact, every one of these molecular interactions is an incident of information being transferred. All these incidents demonstrate that an algorithm (If there is no glucose and only lactose exists, then transcribe the lacZYA enzyme) that is able to distinguish the difference between two sugars exists in bacteria cells and that it functions perfectly.

In short, the signal transfer in lactose operon occurs with the activation of chemical molecules that represent the experimental data pertaining to the physiological environment of the cells. For example, the levels of cyclic-AMP, allolactose and protein phosphorylation indicate the existence of glucose and lactose. The regulating network system, on the other hand, combines many aspects of cell activity (transport, enzymology, energy metabolism) in order to make the transcription decision. Briefly, it is impossible to show that arranging the order of the genome in any cell occurs independently from physiological or biochemical processes.

The principle of “using combinations in the arrangement of specific binding regions” is commonly used in metabolic signal networks that control cell physiology and the differentiation of cell (morphogenesis) that are oriented towards tissue formation. Such an interaction takes place on these network paths between proteins and DNA sequences to ensure that the cell is allowed to process molecular information and to calculate whether it will transcribe a specific genetic sequence. The common binding regions on DNA have vital roles in the coordinated control of various genetic loci, and it is then that the decoding of genes in a harmonious (symphonic) manner becomes possible. Various combinations of these regions are also used in making more complex decisions. As an example, protein-binding regions that are involved in the lowest level of genomic indicators have a role in decoding genes. The proteins that bind to these DNA sequences can become active when they form a group that has an interaction with more than one protein molecule. For instance, each one of the lacO and CRP regions on the lactose operon shows a palindromic sequence structure (the DNA sequence remains the same when the sequence is read from either end). Similarly, the lacP region has two lower regions that are appropriate for the binding of RNA polymerase and are separated from each other by a 16–17 base pair. In all living beings, the proteins and DNA sequences interact with each other. For example, the LacI repressor, which is in charge of controlling the lactose operon,has separate regions for not only binding the DNA region, but also for creating protein-protein binding as well as the binding of allolactose stimulator. The unique combinations of this region on the genome sequence result in a unique protein synthesis.

The genetic engineering procedures in cells

Some of the genetic engineering procedures that take place in the cells are as follows: Recombination systems (mutual material exchange) that are observed in homologous chromosomes (the chromosome pair derived from each parent), recombination specific to a particular region; separation of DNA sequences specific to those regions (fusion of gene pieces, VDJ recombination of genes as appointed in the immune system); the existence of systems that combine end points in non-homologous chromosomes (the binding of broken DNA parts, the formation of new genetic fusion, the formation of sequences that are open to hyper mutations); DNA transposons (DNA sequences that can insert themselves into different DNA sequences or can copy themselves there and leave a copy); the RNA sector that can control the transcription and signals that are responsible for the maturing transcription; the signal sequences that cause the rearrangement of neighboring DNA sequences (such as amplification, deletion, and inversion); and finally, controlling the transcription with micro RNAs.

None of the above phenomena which cause in-cell changes are random. Each of the genetic engineering functions is planned in a way that makes specific changes and arrangements. In the processes of insertion, i.e. when a specific amount of DNA is added to a different region of the genome, or deletion, i.e. when a specific amount of DNA is severed, there should be arranging, cutting and coding sequences that will bind the cut part to its new place in an appropriate way. On the genome, special regions that are suitable to mutation are created in order to produce variety and to respond to adaptation. When all these molecular engineering functions are thoroughly analyzed, it can be seen that even the point mutations, which up until now were thought to have happened by chance, are not coincidence; rather, they occur through the divinely designed genetic engineering functions. Most of the mutations that are thought to occur by chance in the cell have been removed by the repair systems and fault correction functions in the cell. Thus, the changeability and variety in DNA sequences are shaped by the power and will of God the Almighty according to a planned, programmed genetic schedule.

The R&D department of the genome

Depending on the stimulation received, God-given genetic engineering functions are arranged in the cells and a decision is made about which parts of the genome should be changed. Some of the changes inside the cell appear on a large scale. Inside the genome, different and far removed regions can be rearranged. The changes are related to one another and are in no way disconnected. One mechanism can produce more than one change. The reconstruction of changes in some organisms is a part of the normal life cycle. In the Cornelius protozoan, the embryonic genome is regularly decomposed to a thousand slices. Then, through processing and rearranging in the cells, a functional genome with a distinct system structure is created.

While the genome is reshaped, there is the production of new different sequences rather than the sequences that they regulate and which have the code for the continuity of existing phenotype features. The organization of the genome along the system base emerges with the functions of the genetic molecules, such as cut-paste-rearrange. For example, in immune system cells, there is a planned disposition to mutation and the specific antibodies are rearranged to recognize an infinite number of different antigens. The life cycles of lymphocytes demonstrates both the control of the DNA rearrangement improvements and the specificity of mutations. It is estimated that the new sequences which do not change the existing structure operate like a research center for the genome.

The God-given genetic engineering systems imposed in the cells, when analyzed from the perspective of the population, are molecular mechanisms that carry out basic changes to ensure adaptation. The duty of reconstructing the genome during adaptation has been assigned to the divine genetic engineering functions imposed in the cell. The divine genetic engineering tools and mechanisms, which are placed in the cell with active nucleic acid elements that carry information, change the genome in parallel to the changes in both the inner and outer environment; this change occurs not only on one point of the genome, but rather on every point of genome. The functions of the DNA elements, which allow for the exchange of genetic information (both horizontally and vertically, in species and between species, between types and classes), are arranged by domestic cell signal transfer and data process networks. The signal network systems that are in charge of rearranging and controlling in-cell procedures not only control when the genome is rearranged, at the same time it decides where these rearrangements take place inside the genome. The selection of the target is planned, it is not random. For instance, R1 and R2 retrotransposons which are established in the DNA region that codes 28S ribosomal RNA have specific recognition regions and the information of endonuclease cutting DNA region on specific points that it had settled down. Eukaryotic cells have more complex decision making systems. The cells continuously create responses in response to DNA damage, cell physiology and outer-cell reproduction factors. One of the critical questions and answers is whether the damage will be repaired or whether programmed death will take place. If the cell avoids giving an answer, then genetic indecisiveness appears and abnormal cell reproduction, i.e., cancer, begins. From this perspective, cancer is a result of pathology in the signal and information process in the cell. The changes in gene expression without any changes in the DNA sequence (epigenetic) as well as the divine genetic engineering functions are clear proof demonstrating that every single action in the cell occurs with a certain aim that is based on knowledge and calculations.

Hamza Aydin holds a PhD in biology.


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