Journal of Biological Physics

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 13–26 | Cite as

Water in the orchestration of the cell machinery. Some misunderstandings: a short review



Nowadays, biologists can explore the cell at the nanometre level. They discover an unsuspected world, amazingly overcrowded, complex and heterogeneous, in which water, also, is complex and heterogeneous. In the cell, statistical phenomena, such as diffusion, long considered as the main transport for water soluble substances, must be henceforth considered as inoperative to orchestrate cell activity. Results at this level are not yet numerous enough to give an exact representation of the cell machinery; however, they are sufficient to cease reasoning in terms of statistics (diffusion, law of mass action, pH, etc.) and encourage cytologists and biochemists to prospect thoroughly the huge panoply of the biophysical properties of macromolecule-water associations at the nanometre level. Our main purpose, here, is to discuss some of the more common misinterpretations due to the ignorance of these properties, and expose briefly the bases for a better approach of the cell machinery. Giorgio Careri, who demonstrated the correlation between proton currents at the surface of lysozyme and activity of this enzyme was one of the pioneers of this approach.


Interfacial water Intracellular diffusion Signal transduction Proton currents Giorgio Careri 



I am very grateful towards Dr. Yolène Thomas for her encouragements.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karşıyaka, İzmirTurkey

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