Recent Advances in Quantum Biology

A special issue of Quantum Reports (ISSN 2624-960X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 39145

Special Issue Editor

Sr. Professional Staff II, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA
Interests: quantum biology; optimal control; bioelectromagnetism; mechanism of interaction in bioelectromagnetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the great challenges of modern science is to bridge the gap between atomic and cellular level phenomena that affect outcomes in living systems. A potentially transformational facet of this challenge is quantum biology: understanding how quantum properties play governing roles in biological functions. For example, key mechanisms for bird navigation, olfactory sensing, and photosynthesis implicate quantum effects in biological systems. The defining feature of quantum biology is that quantum effects such as coherence and superposition are found at room temperature, in wet environments that typically have lots of motion. Implementation of these principles can lead to a new generation of bio-inspired quantum technologies that can function at ambient temperature and will change the way we think about our world, with applications for improved regenerative medicine, enhanced wound healing, improved human performance, efficient solar energy harvesting, and vision based magnetoreception.

The present Special Issue “Recent Advances in Quantum Biology” aims to collect and publish recent advances in the area of quantum biology. We welcome all reviews and research articles concerned with molecular level quantum phenomena observed in biological systems at functional, cellular, or organism levels. This includes also the disruptive impact of emerging areas of quantum biology. Topics with special emphasis are summarized in the keywords below.

Dr. Carlos F. Martino
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Quantum Reports is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • photosynthesis
  • magnetoreception
  • radical pair formation in cryptochromes
  • olfaction
  • reactive oxygen species production
  • ATP production
  • anesthesia

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 834 KiB  
Article
ATP-Dependent Mismatch Recognition in DNA Replication Mismatch Repair
Quantum Rep. 2023, 5(3), 565-583; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum5030037 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Mismatch repair is a critical step in DNA replication that occurs after base selection and proofreading, significantly increasing fidelity. However, the mechanism of mismatch recognition has not been established for any repair enzyme. Speculations in this area mainly focus on exploiting thermodynamic equilibrium [...] Read more.
Mismatch repair is a critical step in DNA replication that occurs after base selection and proofreading, significantly increasing fidelity. However, the mechanism of mismatch recognition has not been established for any repair enzyme. Speculations in this area mainly focus on exploiting thermodynamic equilibrium and free energy. Nevertheless, non-equilibrium processes may play a more significant role in enhancing mismatch recognition accuracy by utilizing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This study aimed to investigate this possibility. Considering our limited knowledge of actual mismatch repair enzymes, we proposed a hypothetical enzyme that operates as a quantum system with three discrete energy levels. When the enzyme is raised to its highest energy level, a quantum transition occurs, leading to one of two low-energy levels representing potential recognition outcomes: a correct match or a mismatch. The probabilities of the two outcomes are exponentially different, determined by the energy gap between the two low energy levels. By flipping the energy gap, discrimination between mismatches and correct matches can be achieved. Within a framework that combines quantum mechanics with thermodynamics, we established a relationship between energy cost and the recognition error. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
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10 pages, 2918 KiB  
Article
Mechanism of Proton Pumping in Complex I of the Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain
Quantum Rep. 2021, 3(3), 425-434; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum3030027 - 09 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3869
Abstract
We propose a physical mechanism of conformation-induced proton pumping in mitochondrial Complex I. The structural conformations of this protein are modeled as the motion of a piston having positive charges on both sides. A negatively charged electron attracts the piston, moving the other [...] Read more.
We propose a physical mechanism of conformation-induced proton pumping in mitochondrial Complex I. The structural conformations of this protein are modeled as the motion of a piston having positive charges on both sides. A negatively charged electron attracts the piston, moving the other end away from the proton site, thereby reducing its energy and allowing a proton to populate the site. When the electron escapes, elastic forces assist the return of the piston, increasing proton site energy and facilitating proton transfer. We derive the Heisenberg equations of motion for electron and proton operators and rewrite them in the form of rate equations coupled to the phenomenological Langevin equation describing piston dynamics. This set of coupled equations is solved numerically. We show that proton pumping can be achieved within this model for a reasonable set of parameters. The dependencies of proton current on geometry, temperature, and other parameters are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
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10 pages, 1636 KiB  
Article
Noise-Assisted Discord-Like Correlations in Light-Harvesting Photosynthetic Complexes
Quantum Rep. 2021, 3(2), 262-271; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum3020016 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 3324
Abstract
Transport phenomena in photosynthetic systems have attracted a great deal of attention due to their potential role in devising novel photovoltaic materials. In particular, energy transport in light-harvesting complexes is considered quite efficient due to the balance between coherent quantum evolution and decoherence, [...] Read more.
Transport phenomena in photosynthetic systems have attracted a great deal of attention due to their potential role in devising novel photovoltaic materials. In particular, energy transport in light-harvesting complexes is considered quite efficient due to the balance between coherent quantum evolution and decoherence, a phenomenon coined Environment-Assisted Quantum Transport (ENAQT). Although this effect has been extensively studied, its behavior is typically described in terms of the decoherence’s strength, namely weak, moderate or strong. Here, we study the ENAQT in terms of quantum correlations that go beyond entanglement. Using a subsystem of the Fenna–Matthews–Olson complex, we find that discord-like correlations maximize when the subsystem’s transport efficiency increases, while the entanglement between sites vanishes. Our results suggest that quantum discord is a manifestation of the ENAQT and highlight the importance of beyond-entanglement correlations in photosynthetic energy transport processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
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Review

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25 pages, 1844 KiB  
Review
Quantum Biology Research Meets Pathophysiology and Therapeutic Mechanisms: A Biomedical Perspective
Quantum Rep. 2022, 4(2), 148-172; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum4020011 - 04 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6633
Abstract
The recent advances of quantum biology suggest a potential role in biomedical research. Studies related to electromagnetic fields, proton pumping in mitochondrial respiratory chain, quantum theory of T-cell receptor (TCR)-degeneracy, theories on biophotons, pyrophosphates or tubulin as possible carriers for neural information, and [...] Read more.
The recent advances of quantum biology suggest a potential role in biomedical research. Studies related to electromagnetic fields, proton pumping in mitochondrial respiratory chain, quantum theory of T-cell receptor (TCR)-degeneracy, theories on biophotons, pyrophosphates or tubulin as possible carriers for neural information, and quantum properties of ions and protons, might be useful for understanding mechanisms of some serious immune, cardiovascular, and neural pathologies for which classic biomedical research, based on biochemical approach, is struggling to find new therapeutic strategies. A breakthrough in medical knowledge is therefore needed in order to improve the understanding of the complex interactions among various systems and organs typical of such pathologies. In particular, problems related to immune system over-activation, to the role of autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction in the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome, to the clinical consequences of ion channels dysfunction and inherited cardiac diseases, could benefit from the new perspective provided by quantum biology advancement. Overall, quantum biology might provide a promising biophysical theoretic system, on which to base pathophysiology understanding and hopefully therapeutic strategies. With the present work, authors hope to open a constructive and multidisciplinary debate on this important topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
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20 pages, 548 KiB  
Review
Quantum Neurobiology
Quantum Rep. 2022, 4(1), 107-126; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum4010008 - 13 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 10356
Abstract
Quantum neurobiology is concerned with potential quantum effects operating in the brain and the application of quantum information science to neuroscience problems, the latter of which is the main focus of the current paper. The human brain is fundamentally a multiscalar problem, with [...] Read more.
Quantum neurobiology is concerned with potential quantum effects operating in the brain and the application of quantum information science to neuroscience problems, the latter of which is the main focus of the current paper. The human brain is fundamentally a multiscalar problem, with complex behavior spanning nine orders of magnitude-scale tiers from the atomic and cellular level to brain networks and the central nervous system. In this review, we discuss a new generation of bio-inspired quantum technologies in the emerging field of quantum neurobiology and present a novel physics-inspired theory of neural signaling (AdS/Brain (anti-de Sitter space)). Three tiers of quantum information science-directed neurobiology applications can be identified. First are those that interpret empirical data from neural imaging modalities (EEG, MRI, CT, PET scans), protein folding, and genomics with wavefunctions and quantum machine learning. Second are those that develop neural dynamics as a broad approach to quantum neurobiology, consisting of superpositioned data modeling evaluated with quantum probability, neural field theories, filamentary signaling, and quantum nanoscience. Third is neuroscience physics interpretations of foundational physics findings in the context of neurobiology. The benefit of this work is the possibility of an improved understanding of the resolution of neuropathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
28 pages, 445 KiB  
Review
Thermodynamics and Inflammation: Insights into Quantum Biology and Ageing
Quantum Rep. 2022, 4(1), 47-74; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum4010005 - 03 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5335
Abstract
Inflammation as a biological concept has been around a long time and derives from the Latin “to set on fire” and refers to the redness and heat, and usually swelling, which accompanies injury and infection. Chronic inflammation is also associated with ageing and [...] Read more.
Inflammation as a biological concept has been around a long time and derives from the Latin “to set on fire” and refers to the redness and heat, and usually swelling, which accompanies injury and infection. Chronic inflammation is also associated with ageing and is described by the term “inflammaging”. Likewise, the biological concept of hormesis, in the guise of what “does not kill you, makes you stronger”, has long been recognized, but in contrast, seems to have anti-inflammatory and age-slowing characteristics. As both phenomena act to restore homeostasis, they may share some common underlying principles. Thermodynamics describes the relationship between heat and energy, but is also intimately related to quantum mechanics. Life can be viewed as a series of self-renewing dissipative structures existing far from equilibrium as vortexes of “negentropy” that ages and dies; but, through reproduction and speciation, new robust structures are created, enabling life to adapt and continue in response to ever changing environments. In short, life can be viewed as a natural consequence of thermodynamics to dissipate energy to restore equilibrium; each component of this system is replaceable. However, at the molecular level, there is perhaps a deeper question: is life dependent on, or has it enhanced, quantum effects in space and time beyond those normally expected at the atomistic scale and temperatures that life operates at? There is some evidence it has. Certainly, the dissipative adaptive mechanism described by thermodynamics is now being extended into the quantum realm. Fascinating though this topic is, does exploring the relationship between quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and biology give us a greater insight into ageing and, thus, medicine? It could be said that hormesis and inflammation are expressions of thermodynamic and quantum principles that control ageing via natural selection that could operate at all scales of life. Inflammation could be viewed as a mechanism to remove inefficient systems in response to stress to enable rebuilding of more functional dissipative structures, and hormesis as the process describing the ability to adapt; underlying this is the manipulation of fundamental quantum principles. Defining what “quantum biological normality” is has been a long-term problem, but perhaps we do not need to, as it is simply an expression of one end of the normal quantum mechanical spectrum, implying that biology could inform us as to how we can define the quantum world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
10 pages, 1477 KiB  
Review
Exploiting the Fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, to Identify the Molecular Basis of Cryptochrome-Dependent Magnetosensitivity
Quantum Rep. 2021, 3(1), 127-136; https://doi.org/10.3390/quantum3010007 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4747
Abstract
The flavoprotein CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) is now generally believed to be a magnetosensor, providing geomagnetic information via a quantum effect on a light-initiated radical pair reaction. Whilst there is considerable physical and behavioural data to support this view, the precise molecular basis of animal [...] Read more.
The flavoprotein CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) is now generally believed to be a magnetosensor, providing geomagnetic information via a quantum effect on a light-initiated radical pair reaction. Whilst there is considerable physical and behavioural data to support this view, the precise molecular basis of animal magnetosensitivity remains frustratingly unknown. A key reason for this is the difficulty in combining molecular and behavioural biological experiments with the sciences of magnetics and spin chemistry. In this review, we highlight work that has utilised the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which provides a highly tractable genetic model system that offers many advantages for the study of magnetosensitivity. Using this “living test-tube”, significant progress has been made in elucidating the molecular basis of CRY-dependent magnetosensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Quantum Biology)
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