Physics of Biology


In Search of Gauge Theories for Living Cells: a Topological Exploration on the Deep Structure of Biological Complexity

Authors: Arturo Tozzi, Jorge Navarro, James F Peters, Pedro C. Marijuán

Gauge theories had a tremendous impact in particle physics and have been recently proposed in order to assess nervous activity too. Here, taking into account novel claims from topology, the mathematical branch which allows the investigation of the most general systems activity, we aim to sketch a gauge theory addressed to the fundamentals of cellular organization. In our framework, the reference system is the living cell, equipped with general symmetries and energetic constraints standing for the intertwined biochemical, biomolecular, and metabolic pathways that allow the homeostasis. Abstractly, these functional movements follow donut-like trajectories. Environmental stimuli stand for forces able to locally break the symmetry of metabolic pathways, while the species-specific DNA is the gauge field that restores the general homeostasis after external perturbations. We show how the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem (BUT), which states that a single point on a circumference maps two points on a sphere, allows an inquiry of the evolution from inorganic to organic structures and the comparison between prokaryotic and eukaryotic metabolisms and whole functionalities. Furthermore, using recently developed BUT variants, we operationalize a methodology for the description of cellular activity in terms of topology/gauge fields and discuss about the experimental implications and feasible applications. A new avenue for a deeper exploration of biological complexity looms.

Comments: 14 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2016-10-03 00:49:32

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