The Scientific World
and Cellular Communication
In the last part of the twentieth century there were
enormous scientific advances in the field of cellular
communication. Huge steps were taken towards an understanding
of the communication networks in the depths of our bodies.
For example, if we look at the awarding of the Nobel
prizes over the past twelve years, six of the awards
given in this period in the field of medicine were to
research done in the field of cellular communication.
The systems we have described so far are a part of the
wonders discovered as a result of this research.
How far have we come in the year 2005? How much farther
does the scientific world have to go? The answer to
this question is very important because the answers
we give will help us to understand that this cell communication
system is a great wonder of creation.
In various countries of the world are many organizations,
with a total budget of millions of dollars that are
researching this matter. Towards the end of the year
2000, the Alliance for Cellular Signaling (AFCS) was
established. Twenty universities and hundreds of scientists
belong to this organization, and its founder, Alfred
Gilman, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1994 for his
work in cellular communication. Professor Gilman had
this to say about this subject:
If the brain needs sugar,
the liver has got to put it out. If the muscles need
more blood, the heart has got to beat faster. Hundreds
of different chemical signals flow around the body,
released from one cell to influence the activities of
other cells. Cells are constantly being bombarded with
very large numbers of chemical signals that tell them
what to do and how to perform…The bigger problem, and
the one that is most difficult to figure out, is how
all of these modules interact together.48
And the AFCS, beginning its work towards this goal,
explained their enterprise using this comparison;
The Alliance will launch voyages of
discovery aimed at two continents (cardiac myocytes,
B lymphocytes). We know a little about the coastline
of each continent-a few harbors and mountain ranges
near the coast (receptors, ligands, and crudely sketched
signaling pathways). We will thus concentrate first
on exploring the coast more thoroughly, at the outset
with more attention to the harbors that we know best
(e.g., G protein-coupled receptors and heterotrimeric
G proteins) but not neglecting many we know less well
(receptor tyrosine kinases, cytokine receptors, etc.).
Mapping the interior of the continent begins with expeditions
to inland areas nearest the coast (cytosol), following
rivers and trade routes (critical nodes of signaling
pathways already known). Further exploration will radiate
out from these nodes, and later expeditions will push
further into the interior (cytoplasm to nucleus)…49
The fact is, as the paragraph above shows, the information
that we have at our disposal regarding cellular communication
is quite limited and that, in the years ahead, microorganisms
will increase our knowledge or other systems.
There are scientists who speak clearly and sincerely
on this subject. One of these is the 1999 winner of
the Nobel Prize in medicine, Günter Blobel who did research
on the "zip code" system in cells. This world-renowned
professor said the following in an interview on this
It's shocking how little we know about
how a cell works . . . And that will take a long, long
time to figure out.50
is He Who created the heavens and the Earth
with truth. The day He says "Be!"
it is. His speech is Truth. The Kingdom will
be His on the Day the Trumpet is blown, the
Knower of the Unseen and the Visible. He is
the All-Wise, the All-Aware.
(Qur'an, 6: 73)
The twenty-first century will, as science advances,
allow us to learn more incomparable wonders of communication
within our cells. For a person of understanding, every
system that is being discovered is a demonstration of
God's eternal wisdom and power, and a sign that reminds
us that the only Being worthy of praise is God.
48 "UT Southwestern Nobel Laureate
Leads Bold Project Changing Way Scientists Conduct Research,"
Science Daily Magazine, 5 September 2000, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000913204201.htm.
49 Alliance for Cellular Signaling (AFCS), "I.
Program Summary, D. Experimental Strategies, 2. Definition
of Our Initial Sphere of Interest," 2000, http://www.signaling-gateway.org/aboutus/ProgSummary.html
50 "Making discoveries that transform science,"
The Rockefeller University, Office of Communications
and Public Affairs, www.rockefeller.edu/pub/discoveries/