In my biochemistry classes, I've started learning some fascinating
things about electron and proton movement during anabolism/catabolism processes.
In my physics/electronics classes, I've started learning about basic
electronic elements, such as the inducer coil, which by the virtue of its coiled
conduction wire, can generate a useful magnetic field of uniform shape.
This makes me wonder: could a small molecule be synthesized in vivo
which would spontaneously polymerize into a helical structure which could
carry charge, and therefore, generate a uniform magnetic field?
Could this be harnessed, in vivo or in vitro, as a useful tool?
Has this mechanism been observed in creatures which show sensitivity
to magnetic fields, such as sharks and birds, which use these fields for
I can imagine a biosensor of this helical element might work by the
following device: since a magnetic field can induce a current through the coil,
a piezoelectric device attached to the helical element coudl transduce a signal
that the coil was experiencing a net magnetic field to a measuring device.
I think that the easiest way to design this biomolecle would be a
computer program which could provide rapid helical tranforms, to model very
large helices in vitro/in vivo. Do such programs exist?
O~_ --------------- David Konerding (University of California, Santa Cruz)
c/ /' --------- rafael at cse.ucsc.edu
( ) \( ) ----- rafael at cats.ucsc.edu