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Bioelectrical Mysteries of Microtubules

Bioelectrical signaling and morphogenetic fields: Bioelectricity refers to the electrical potentials and currents that exist within and between cells, playing crucial roles in growth, healing, and development. Quantum effects in microtubules or other cellular structures could hypothetically influence bioelectrical signaling pathways, potentially contributing to the “memory” of cells and tissues regarding their correct anatomical positions and functions.


The report on the study “Investigation of the Electrical Properties of Microtubule Ensembles under cell-like Conditions” involves synthesizing its key points, implications, and the significance of its findings in a clear and accessible manner. Here’s a draft report that highlights these aspects:

A Glimpse into Cellular Nanowires


In the realm of cellular biology, microtubules have long been recognized for their structural role, offering scaffolding for cell shape and pathways for transport. However, a groundbreaking study published in Nanomaterials (Basel) 2020 by Aarat P. Kalra et al., has cast a spotlight on a previously underappreciated facet of microtubules – their electrical properties and potential as bio-nanowires within the cellular environment.

Study Overview

This pioneering investigation delves into how microtubules, the cylindrical polymers of α, β-tubulin, influence the electrical landscape of the cellular milieu. By focusing on the electrical characteristics such as capacitance and resistance, the study reveals that the dielectric properties of tubulin are indeed dependent on its polymerization state, opening the door to the concept of an electrically tunable cytoskeleton.

Key Findings

  • Capacitance Enhancement by Microtubules: The study unveils that microtubules significantly increase the solution capacitance, hinting at their ability to store electrical charge. This capacity was not observable when tubulin was in its monomeric, unpolymerized form.
  • Reduced Resistance and Charge Transport Peaks: A notable decrease in electrical resistance was observed in the presence of microtubules, with a pronounced peak in charge transport efficiency between 20–60 Hz. This discovery aligns with the notion that microtubules can resonate with electrical oscillations at specific low frequencies, suggesting their potential role in cellular signaling.

Implications and Future Directions

The revelation that microtubules can act as dynamic electrical elements within the cell hints at a revolutionary understanding of intracellular communication and mechanics. The concept of an electrically tunable cytoskeleton suggests potential applications in bioengineering, where cellular functions could be manipulated through electrical stimulation. Furthermore, the study’s insights into microtubule’s electrical properties at physiological conditions provide a valuable framework for future research in bioelectricity and its implications in health and disease.


The investigation by Kalra et al. represents a significant leap in our comprehension of the cytoskeleton’s bioelectrical properties. By demonstrating that microtubules can function akin to nanowires, capable of charge storage and preferential conductance at specific frequencies, this study lays the groundwork for exploring the cytoskeleton’s role in bioelectrical phenomena and its potential in biomedical innovation. As we stand on the brink of this exciting frontier, the possibilities for harnessing the electrical properties of microtubules in cellular engineering and therapeutic interventions seem boundless.

The paper investigates the electrical properties of microtubules under conditions that mimic those inside a cell. Microtubules are important components of the cell’s cytoskeleton, providing structural support and playing roles in various cellular processes like transport and cell division. This study focuses on understanding how the polymerization of tubulin (the protein building blocks of microtubules) affects the electrical characteristics of microtubule ensembles, particularly looking at capacitance (ability to store charge) and resistance (opposition to charge flow).

Here are the key findings and concepts explained:

Capacitance and Resistance Changes

  • Capacitance Increase: The study found that microtubules, when present at physiological concentrations, increase the solution’s capacitance. This means that microtubules can store electrical charge, which is not significantly observed when tubulin is present in its unpolymerized form. This suggests that the act of tubulin polymerizing into microtubules alters its electrical properties.
  • Resistance Decrease and Charge Transport Peak: There is a decrease in the electrical resistance of the solution in the presence of microtubules, indicating an easier flow of electrical charge. Importantly, this easier flow of charge (or peak in charge transport) occurs at specific frequencies between 20–60 Hz, suggesting that microtubules can preferentially conduct electrical signals at these frequencies.

Implications of Findings

  • Bioelectricity and Bionanowires: These findings have implications for understanding the bioelectrical properties of cells, suggesting that microtubules act not only as structural components but also as components involved in the electrical signaling within cells. The study supports the idea of microtubules functioning as bionanowires, capable of conducting electric signals, and storing charge depending on their polymerization state.
  • Electrically Tunable Cytoskeleton Hypothesis: The conclusion introduces a hypothesis that the cytoskeleton (a network including microtubules) can be electrically tunable. This means that the electrical properties of the cytoskeleton could be modified by changing the polymerization state of tubulin, which could potentially be used to influence cellular processes in targeted ways.

Frequencies Used in the Study

The specific focus on frequencies between 20–60 Hz for charge transport peaks is particularly interesting because it aligns with certain biological processes. For example, electrical oscillations within the brain (gamma waves) also occur within this frequency range, suggesting a possible connection to cellular communication processes. The study’s findings that microtubules can affect electrical properties like capacitance and conductance at these frequencies provide a new understanding of how cellular components might interact with or contribute to bioelectrical signals.

In summary, the study provides insights into how microtubules, through their polymerization from tubulin, can affect the electrical properties of their environment, suggesting a complex role for the cytoskeleton in cellular electrical phenomena.

Bridging Realms: Sir Roger Penrose’s Vision of Reality, Consciousness, and Beyond


Sir Roger Penrose, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, has long been a pioneer in exploring the depths of mathematical physics and its implications on our understanding of the universe and consciousness. His work, spanning from the Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems to the theory of Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR) in collaboration with anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, challenges conventional perceptions and seeks to answer some of the most profound questions about our existence and the nature of reality itself.


The enigmatic behavior of quantum particles at the subatomic level has puzzled physicists for nearly a century, suggesting a division between the quantum and classical realms. Penrose believes this division is key to unlocking the mysteries of consciousness and proposes a groundbreaking hypothesis that integrates gravity, quantum mechanics, and consciousness.

Penrose’s Contributions to Physics and Consciousness

The Theory of Sequential Universes

Penrose proposes a model of sequential universes, suggesting that traces from universes that existed before the Big Bang are influencing our current universe. This theory not only challenges our understanding of time and existence but also offers a novel perspective on the continuity of universes.

Penrose-Hawking Singularity Theorems

In collaboration with Stephen Hawking, Penrose identified singularities within the universe where gravitational forces render the laws of spacetime ineffective. These findings have profound implications for the origins of the universe and the end states of black holes.

Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR)

The Orch OR theory, developed with Stuart Hameroff, posits that consciousness arises from quantum processes within the brain’s microtubules. This theory suggests that wave function collapse—a key quantum mechanical process—is central to the emergence of consciousness.

The Intersection of Gravity and Quantum Mechanics

Penrose argues that gravity, conspicuously absent from quantum theory, plays a crucial role in the collapse of the wave function. He posits that the inconsistency between quantum mechanics and general relativity hints at a deeper underlying reality, one where gravity influences quantum states leading to objective reduction.

Retroactive Reality and Consciousness

Penrose introduces the concept of retro-activity, wherein the collapse of a quantum state can affect the past, essentially selecting the single reality we experience from multiple potential outcomes. This process, he suggests, is integral to the emergence of consciousness and challenges the linear perception of time.

Implications for Understanding Reality

Penrose’s theories offer a radical reimagining of reality, suggesting that our conscious experience is shaped by quantum processes governed by gravity. This perspective has profound implications for the nature of time, the structure of the universe, and the origins of consciousness.

Future Directions and Challenges

While Penrose’s ideas open new avenues for research, they also present significant challenges. Experimental verification of gravity-induced wave function collapse and the role of retro-activity in consciousness requires innovative approaches and could reshape our understanding of physics and the mind.


Sir Roger Penrose’s contributions to physics and the study of consciousness represent a bold step towards unifying the realms of the quantum and the classical, the physical and the mental. His theories challenge us to rethink our place in the universe and the fundamental nature of reality itself.

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