Magnetogenetics is a relatively new field of research , at least regarding published research . You can be sure that the technique has been studied for decades in the bowels of deep state laboratories and also tested in the field on unsuspecting ‘lab humans’ . It is closely related to other similar fields of study such as optogenetics , chemogenetics and sonogenetics .
All three rely on the same basic principle , that is the remote stimulation of cellular activity . All three revolve around the implantation of nano particles to a specific cellular region and the remote activation of the target cell group using an applied energy or substance .
The nano particles can be biological (DNA or RNA) , metallic or mineral based , or a combination of these three . The applied energy can take the form of light in optogenetics , magnetic fields in magnetogenetics (from electromagnetic energy) , a chemical activator in chemogenetics and sound waves in sonogenetics .
To fully understand magnetogenetics we must first consider the basic principles of intracellular signaling . Ion channels are the critical structure in a cell membrane which allows intracellular signaling , they can be thought of as a gateway to the cell .
This article will concentrate on neuronal cells .
As the ions flow in or out of the cell a tiny electrical current is created also known as the action potential , electricity can be simply thought of as a flow of charged particles (ions) . The cell responds to the action potential and releases a neurotransmitter which can be a specific chemical or protein . The neurotransmitter chemical then travels to another cell having receptors which are tuned to accept them , where another cellular response is initiated .
The whole process acts like a chain reaction and operates in a fraction of a second , the vascular system can transport neurotransmitters throughout the body until they reach their target cells . Ultimately the whole process serves to coordinate and trigger bodily and sensory functions .
In the case of the human brain the system is similar although the neuronal cells are directly connected to each other . The action potential travels along a cellular nerve called the axon , the tiny gap between the terminals of each neuron is called the synapse , this is the vital point where each neuron is almost connected .
Learning is achieved by strengthening the connections between each neuronal cell cluster . The strengthening happens by repetition , in basic terms each time a specific cell connection is activated it becomes stronger .
A few facts about cellular ion channels :
- Ion channels are formed from a specific biological protein known as a membrane protein .
- Ion channels are fixed in position on the cell membrane .
- Ion channels open in response to a stimuli such as an electrical voltage , chemical reagent or a particular protein .
- The ions are formed from dissolved salts such as sodium (Na+) , Potassium (K+) and calcium (Ca2+) .
- Ion channels generally only allow a specific type of ion to cross the cell membrane , e.g. only Na+ (sodium) .
- Some ion channels allow ion flow in only one direction .
- Some ion channels open quickly and close slowly .
- Some ion channels open slowly and close quickly .
- Some ion channels are open all of the time .
- A single cell membrane may contain many different types ion channels .
- Also different types of neurons will have different types of ion channels .
In short , the complex order of cellular ion channels and the different stimuli which can activate the ion channels creates a multitude of differing neuronal signals which ultimately create and govern every sensory function . Sight , sound , taste , hearing and touch are the result of a myriad of cellular responses , all governed essentially by ion channels .
TRP channel (Transient Receptor Potential channel)
A TRP channel is a sub-group of ion channels that are involved in sensory reception . The TRP ion channels can respond to a variety of stimuli including heat (thermoreception) , water (osmosis) , chemicals (chemoreception) , mechanical pressure (mechanoreception) and radiation such as infrared light (photoreception) .
Some individual TRP channels can respond to several different stimuli , as such they are known as a ‘superfamily’ of ion channels .
TRP channels are triggered primarily by calcium .
TRP channel disruption and the resulting inability for neuronal cells to regulate calcium is closely linked to neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimers .
TRP channels can be further divided into several subfamilies including TRPC, TRPV, TRPM, TRPML, TRPP, TRPA, and TRPN .
This article will concentrate on the subfamilies listed below .
- TRPV (Vanilloid)
- TRPA (subfamily A)
To further complicate matters each TRPV subfamily can also be subdivided numerically into TRPV1 – TRPV6 . Each subdivision behaves slightly differently in response to different stimuli .
The table below gives an overview of TRPV expression , effects and triggers
As can be seen in the table , TRPV channels are extremely temperature sensitive and are also able to ‘sense’ pain , also termed nociception .
TRPV1 channels are found in the cells of various bodily organs such as the heart , stomach and testes . TRPV1 is considered to be the ‘daddy’ of all other TRPV channels .
In regard to neural functioning , TRPV1 is found in the spine and the trigeminal nerves . The trigeminal nerve is the largest of the cranial nerves and is related to the senses of sight , smell and taste .
A tingling sensation in the facial skin , mouth area or nose can point to some form of irritation of the trigeminal nerve .
A few facts about TRPV1 channels :
Glutamate is the most important neurotransmitter in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) . Glutamate is known as an excitory neurotransmitter , it basically activates other cells that have glutamate receptors , almost all neuronal cells in the brain and the CNS have glutamate receptors . Glutamate also regulates GABA production , which has the opposite effect to glutamate in that it reduces cellular excitability .
- Peripheral nerve endings in the CNS are particularly expressive of glutamate when their cellular TRPV1 channels are activated . An example of this is the sensation of heat from a chilli pepper .
- Over excitability of TRPV1 channels is thought to cause cellular death by inducing shearing forces .
- TRPV1 channels are though to play a role in natural cellular death .
- TRPV1 channels are also thought to play a role in neurogenesis .
- TRPV1 channels have been associated with longevity and metabolism .
- TRPV1 channels are particularly active in the hypothalamus , which in turn is connected to the endocrine system . The endocrine system controls hormone release from the testes or ovaries (testosterone or oestrogen) and the adrenal glands (cortisol) .
- TRPV1 channels are sensitive to heat (>43°).
- TRPV1 channels are pain receptors .
- Cannabis compounds are potent activators of TRPV1 channels .
Less is known about the other TRPV channels 2-6 , at least regarding published research . Research is ongoing as to the precise functions of TRPV2 – TRPV6 . Much of the research involves nulling the specific TRPV channels in knockout mice , the effects can then be compared to ‘wild’ mice with intact TRPV channels .
Do you think that there may be people or organizations willing to conduct similar research using ‘knockout humans’ ?
A few facts about TRPV2 channels :
- TRPV2 channels are thought to function as mechanoreceptors and/or osmosensors .
Osmosensor : Regulates the volume of a cell and the liquid level of a cell .
Mechanoreceptor : Sensitive to touch , pressure and deformation .
- In TRPV2 knockout mice (where TRPV2 expression is limited) , embryo viability and embryo weight were reduced . This is thought to be related to macrophage activity , which in turn implicates TRPV2 in being an important factor in the immune system .
- Cannabis compounds are potent activators of TRPV2 channels .
- TRPV2 channels are sensitive to heat (>53°) .
- TRPV2 also plays an important role in food and fluid intake and cardiovascular function .
A few facts about TRPV3 channels :
- TRPV3 channels are found throughout the sensory system , especially the skin .
- TRPV3 channels are thought to regulate hair growth .
- TRPV3 knockout mice exhibited hair loss .
- TRPV3 knockout mice exhibited pathological skin disease .
- TRPV3 channels are responsive to a drop or rise in temperature .
- Temperature controlled TRPV3 activation is thought to enable rapid wound healing .
A few facts about TRPV4 channels :
- TRPV4 channels are thought to function as a mechanoreceptors and/or osmosensors .
- TRPV4 channels are sensitive to a wide variety of other stimuli including chemicals , plant compounds and a variety of ligand types .
- Unusually , TRPV4 can also be activated in the absence of a specific stimuli .
- It is thought that TRPV4 channels primarily react to and govern cellular hypotonicity and also act to control intracellular calcium ion concentration .
- TRPV4 knockout mice experience cellular hypotonicity .
- TRPV4 channels are thought to affect the motility of human sperm
- TRPV4 channels are though to play a role in the sensation of itching .
- Mutated TRPV4 channels are responsible for a wide variety of degenerative diseases .
- TRPV4 has also been found in the epithelial tissue of a wide variety of bodily organs .
- TRPV4 is important for vascular system function .
- Over expression of TRPV4 causes heart failure .
TRPV5 and TRPV6
- Both TRPV5 & 6 are related to kidney function .
- Like TRPV4 , TRPV6 has also been found in the epithelial tissue .
- TRPV6 knockout mice suffered reduced intestinal absorption of calcium , which could have domino effect on the functioning of all TRPV channels .
A few facts about TRPA channels :
- The TRPA channel set contains only one subset which is TRPA1 .
- TRPA1 is expressed in the trigeminal ganglia in the brain and dorsal root ganglia of the spine .
- TRPA1 is also found in the inner ear .
- TRPA1 channels are thought to be linked with TRPV channels , TRPV channels are though to modulate TRPA channel actions .
- TRPA1 channels are thought to act as sensors for a wide variety of noxious irritants and pollutants .
- TRPA1 can be activated by cannabis compounds .
The importance of ion channels in neural functioning is paramount .
Ion channels form the basis of all sensory and nervous system functions and help the human brain to interpret everything we hear , see , touch and smell .
There are many more complex functions performed by ion channels which are less understood .
So what if ion channel function could be remotely manipulated using a combination of genetically engineered nano particles and an externally applied electromagnetic wave , radio wave or similar ?
Part II coming soon
Further reading :
Ion Channels :
- Ion Channel
- Ion Channel (Britannica)
- Fantastic Complexity in Brain Potassium Channels
- Nanochannels: Yale Engineers Design the First Functional Artificial Ion Channel
TRP calcium channels :
- Sensing with TRP channels (PDF)
- TRP Ion Channel Function in Sensory Transduction and Cellular Signaling Cascades
- Hot flash: TRPV channels in the brain (PDF)
- What do we know about the transient receptor potential vanilloid 2 (TRPV2) ion channel?
- TRPV channels in the brain
- The puzzle of TRPV4 channelopathies
- TRPV4: Molecular Conductor of a Diverse Orchestra
- TRPV4 calcium entry channel: a paradigm for gating diversity
- Perspectives of TRPV1 Function on the Neurogenesis and Neural Plasticity