The brain of the cell

Is the Primary Cilium a Cell’s Antenna or Its Brain

December 15, 2013 by Jon Lieff, MD

Excerpt: “With the primary cilium at the center of cellular sensation, communication, movement, cell division, autophagy and decision making, it is clearly a hub of purposeful behavior in all cells including the neuron. Is it possible that the primary cilium is the brain of the cell?”

My comment: At the advent of sexual reproduction in yeasts, a cilium-like projection forms on one cell that enables two cells of different types (e.g., male and female) to stick together and exchange genetic material. The development of the different cell types is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled and so is their sexual orientation.

The molecule that enables the exchange of genetic material is so similar to a GnRH molecule of mammals that it elicits an LH response from the cultured pituitary cells of the rat. In mammals and other vertebrates, differences in the pulsatile secretion of GnRH secretion enable the brain’s response to food odors and pheromones.

Thanks to Jon, we now have information on how differences in morphology may link the cilia of unicellular organisms to human brain development via conserved molecular mechanisms, which also link the epigenetic landscape via chemical sensation (e.g., “smelling”) to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genome of species from microbes to man. Indeed, Lewis Thomas once wrote: “The act of smelling is remarkably like the act of thinking itself.”

Like Jon Lieff, Lewis Thomas may also have linked the brain of the cell to the human brain. Unlike Jon Lieff, Lewis Thomas was not familiar with the extant literature, which has only recently become available. Thus, we have Jon to thank for keeping us up-to-date.

Olfactory receptor cells have dendrites instead of cilia, and they are equipped with receptors for all sorts of chemical stimuli. The de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes in olfactory receptor neurons appears to link nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions to differences in cell types of individuals and species in species from microbes to man. It is those differences that globally enable nutrient uptake and the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction. Thus, the primary cilium of most cell types can be linked to the diversification of most, if not all, species that sexually reproduce.

Alternatively, mutations may be responsible for sex differences and the ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction that is exemplified by species diversity and by organismal complexity. However, it seems to make more sense to think in terms of conserved molecular mechanisms, as Jon does, even if others must start by thinking about the primary cilium as the brain of the cell.

About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society