How Do Bacteria Help Cancer

B0006520 Breast cancer cells

Cancers are a community of cells that engage in continual conversations to help their cells thrive, to expand to new locations, and to fight off attacks from immune cells, microbes, and other cells. Bacteria are another community of cells that constantly talk among themselves for group activity such as finding food,…

Each Cell Has s Clock

PD circadian picture

For many years there was a consensus that most organisms have a circadian clock. In humans it was considered to be directed centrally by the master clock in the brain region suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This clock appears to be involved in directing essential physiological processes throughout the body including…

Complex Cellular Conversations about Food Allergies

B0009442 Collage of mixed fruits and vegetables, MRI

It is quite remarkable that the immune system can deal with an almost infinite number of different molecules and not have more disasters. In creating antibodies and receptors, immune cells are able to respond to newly synthesized molecules that have never been seen in nature before. Equally remarkable is the response to…

Pain from Cells that Are Not Neurons

High resolution concept or conceptual 3d human male or man anato

Recent research on pain shows a very surprising result. A new type of neuroplasticity has been discovered where “pain” teaches parts of the brain to experience more pain. Most surprising is that neurons are not involved—but rather brain glial cells, cancer cells, microbes, and immune cells. One recent result shows…

Update on Microbes Affecting the Brain

B0004798 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up

Recent posts had already shown that gut microbe signaling with the human brain can have positive and negative effects on anxiety, stress, depression, obesity and degenerative illness. This occurs by neurotransmitters secreted into the blood, gut neuron stimulation, microbe travel into the brain, and immune cells…

Microbes in Animals Confound Research


While many scientists draw conclusions from research that they think is incontrovertible, in fact there are many inherent problems with current research and its conclusions. A previous post described the many issues involved in attempts to understand the brain.  Another described problems with inferring how brain regions…

Special Relationship of Viruses and Endoplasmic Reticulum

B0008518 Rough endoplasmic reticulum

It is quite remarkable how much viruses can accomplish with a very small number of genes and a handful of proteins. Previous posts have described the very elaborate lifestyle of HIV with only 9 genes, and Ebola with only 7 genes. Somehow, viruses are able to manipulate vast cellular machinery including organelles much…

Are Fungus the Dominant Life Form

B0009413 Macrophages infected with Candida yeast spores, SEM

Bacteria and viruses exhibit communication and almost endless creativity and variation. We have no real idea just how many species there are. Bacteria and viruses have dramatic effects on the ecology of every part of the earth. Because of this, they have been considered by some to be the dominant life form. An increasing…

Inflammasomes Are Large Complex Signaling Platforms

FEATURE Protein molecule for Complex Neuron Machinery

Many large proteins combine to form a signaling platform that orchestrates many varied types of inflammation. Irregularities in any of the proteins of this complex structure can produce devastating diseases, including cancer and autoimmune, metabolic and brain diseases. Inflammation can be caused by toxins, trauma and many…

Viruses evade DNA RNA Sensors

N0013888 HIV virus budding from T lymphocyte

Some think viruses are not alive. It is, therefore, very surprising that they can evade elaborate cellular mechanisms used to find and destroy them. Search and destroy mechanisms of the cell and counter attacks from viruses are very complex. Cells use many sensors to find DNA and RNA that is not where it is supposed to be….

Short Chain Fatty Acids From Fiber As Critical Signals

W0030903 Cereals and legumes

Dietary fiber has been recommended for several positive health effects. However, the reasons for these effects are complex and just being discovered. As with all of life, it involves signaling among cells throughout the body including gut cells where it is ingested, microbes in the gut that metabolize it, and immune cells…

Microbe Conversations with Skin Cells Produce Immunity

Human Skin Cutaway Diagram, With Several Details.

Skin is much more dynamic than most realize. The major epithelial cells, called keratinocytes, engage in very elaborate signaling to many different cells. They also produce many types of cells, some gradually becoming the firm barrier cells that make skin resistant to infections and trauma. Like lining cells of the…

Vital Immune Communication with Peptides

colorful peptide

Communication among cells is the basis of all immune and nervous system activity. Research continues to find large vocabularies of signals in different languages—neurotransmitters, cytokines, small RNAs, protein transcription factors, small lipid molecules and glycan sugars. The numbers of signals is growing…

Special T cells Inhibit Immune Reactions to Food

B0009441 Collage of mixed fruits and vegetables, MRI
Credit: Alexandr Khrapichev, University of Oxford. Wellcome Images
Collage of cross sections through various fruits and vegetables (avocado, squash, cabbage, mandarin orange, pomegranate, garlic cloves, tomato, kiwi, star fruit, persimmon, artichoke). Ultra-thin virtual slices through the fruit or vegetable were acquired by spin-echo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which reveals details inside the object without damaging it. The images are digitally coloured where contrast corresponds to MRI signal intensity and hue was changed to match the natural colour of the fruit or vegetable.
Magnetic resonance imaging
2012 Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see

Immune cells in the gut are produced in response to environmental signals and communication between many different types of cells. The gut is a very special environment that includes cooperative and competitive efforts between many cells including trillions of friendly and unfriendly microbes, intestinal epithelial cells,…

Biofilm Geo Politics

B0008255 Confocal micrograph of Bacillus subtilis

Biofilms are major causes of severe infections because microbes are able to protect themselves in a tough 3-D matrix that is difficult for the cell to attack. Until recently, it was thought that one dangerous microbe builds a biofilm. As has been found with most microbe activities, their strength derives from back and…

Microbe Geo Politics in the Gut

B0003777 Villus from the human duodenum

With trillions of microbes comprising thousands of species or more, it has been impossible to fully study their composition or exact locations in the gut. Even more complex is their back and forth chatter between multiple Kingdoms such as bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi, and eukaryote human cells in the lining and immune…

The Politics of Gut Microbe Kingdoms

PD FEATURE WIK 800px-SalmonellaNIAID

It was once thought that to prove the cause of an infection, a microbe is found. The microbe is isolated from the unhealthy person. Later, this infection is reproduced in an otherwise healthy animal by injecting that particular microbe. This approach is described in Koch’s Postulates and was the dogma of microbiology…

Vast Complexity of Immune Pattern Recognition Receptors

PD sheets of dendritic cell capture HIV

Living among trillions of microbes, it is necessary to determine which are going to cause disease. This is done by recognizing patterns with special receptors on immune cells—pattern recognition receptors or PPRs. Once triggered, receptors activate powerful mechanisms to cause inflammation that is life saving but, also,…

Intelligent Microbe Secretory Weapons

B0004797 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up

Microbes demonstrate incredible sophistication in making effector molecules that have multi-layered effects. A previous post described how some of these newly created proteins are the exact shapes that alter epigenetic tags in host cells. They produce very particular genetic changes influencing cascades in the nucleus,…

Intelligent Microbes Attack Organelles

B0008190 Organelles in spiral ganglion neuron

Human cells are massively larger and more complex than bacteria and yet microbes keep up relentless intelligent warfare. Previous posts documented surprisingly sophisticated, multi level attacks by microbes using protein molecules and micro RNA against plants and animals. Recently, new microbe techniques have been…

How Does Diet Influence Immunity

B0009442 Collage of mixed fruits and vegetables, MRI

The short answer is by very complex intelligent communication with a vast array of signals from a single layer of cells. This single intestinal epithelial cell layer makes elaborate decisions about digestion, types of diet, analysis of the effects of trillions of microbes and the types of immune cells and specialized lymph…

Clever Cells and Microbes Fight Over Vacuoles

B0007276 Eukaryotic cell
Credit: Anna Tanczos. Wellcome Images
A eukaryotic cell is defined as a nucleus containing cell. Most living organisms including animals, plants, fungi and protists are eukaryotes. The contents of the cell depicted in this model are as folows: The central region of the cell shows the nuclear envelope contining the nuclear pores, nucleolus and DNA (shown as a double helix). The golgi apparatus is purple and the smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum are in shiney blue, both these structures are convoluted in shape to give them a larger surface area. The energy producing apparatus of the cell is the mitochondria - shown in red. The ribosomes are dipicted as green spheres, the centrioles - grey cylinders, the vesicles light blue spheres and lysosymes - large purple spheres.
Digital artwork/Computer graphic
Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see

Vacuoles are unique intracellular vesicles with many different functions. Some store critical molecules. Some store water or fat. Others are factories of destruction for waste, debris and mis folded proteins. Previous posts have described how individual organelles, like mitochondria have independent intelligent activity….

Many New Microbe Molecules Discovered in Humans

B0004797 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up

Inside of each of us, there are ten times as many bacteria and 100 times as many viruses as our own cells. This means we have 300 times more DNA from microbes inside of us than our own DNA (the total DNA has been called the hologenome- see post). Microbe DNA is not quiet, but is producing large amounts of molecules that…

Intelligent Cancer Cells Communicate with Exosomes

B0008197 Vesicle transport at the golgi apparatus
Credit: University of Dundee. Wellcome Images
Computer graphic showing vesicle transport at the golgi apparatus in an eukaryotic cell. Cells synthesis various molecules for signalling and other cellular processes, most of these molecules are bound in vesicles, which are membrane bound sacks that allow various molecules to be transported through the cell. Different vesicles have different functions depending on the molecules they contain, they can store, transport or digest and dispose of different molecules. The golgi apparatus or golgi body is an organelle that is responsible for sorting and packaging protiens and lipids by packaging them in vesicles and ensuring they are delivered the the correct place in the cell.
Digital artwork/Computer graphic
August 2008 Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see

It is surprising that cells have so many elaborate ways to communicate with each other. Cytokines and neurotransmitters are well known methods. Recently, very unusual new signaling techniques have been discovered, such as small nano tubes (cytonemes) in which cells send many types of signals including important genetic…

Spread of the Intelligent Dengue Virus

B0009952 Dengue virus (DENV) particle, illustration

A small RNA strand able to make ten proteins has become the scourge of much of the world in the form of Dengue fever. This remarkable tiny virus is able to thwart the complex human immune reactions that fight viruses. Using some unique features, it is rapidly spreading through the world and infects millions of people per…

Microbes Effect on the Brain

B0004797 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up Credit: David Gregory&Debbie Marshall. Wellcome Images Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, computer-coloured red on green. Close-up view, showing pili. Electron micrograph 2003 Published:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see

Hundreds of trillions of microbes live in the human gut, with 300 times the total DNA as humans. The products of this “forgotten organ” include large amounts of DNA that are critical to create necessary human nutrients, for essential metabolism and to develop the most effective immune system. Recent research shows…

Bacteria Work Together to Build a Biofilm Civilization

Public domain   biofilm

Bacteria build large city-like structures for protection. Constructing a biofilm is a masterpiece of cooperation. Previous posts show that bacteria are able to make complex decisions after analysis and synthesis of multiple simultaneous inputs without a brain. They are, also, able to communicate through an elaborate…

Are Microbes Friend or Foe of Cancer

B0006421 Breast cancer cells

Cellular communication is ubiquitous in life and previous posts have described many types of cellular languages. Critical signaling occurs in highly complex interactions of bacteria and human cells to help or fight cancer cells in their quest to form their own cellular community. Like other major cellular societies, cancer…

Virus Tricks Manipulate the Cytoskeleton

B0001397 Stress fibres, focal adhesions & lamellae

Viruses, with only a few genes, are able to commandeer the complex mechanisms of human cells. Previous posts have described remarkable behavior of herpes, HIV and Ebola. These tiny pieces of genetic material are able to make proteins that evade the attacks from immune cells and trick membranes to allow entry. Viruses can…

Evolution of Intelligent Viruses and Jumping Genes

Molecular Colors

50% of the human genome consists of jumping genes or mobile genetic elements. The 8% of human DNA from retroviruses has been vital to human evolution, such as determining the human placenta, epigenetic changes in the brain and digestive enzymes. An epigenetic immune system in the nucleus battles the jumping genes for…

The Very Intelligent Ebola Virus Takes Front and Center

Ebola virus

Several intelligent viruses have been featured in previous posts. Herpes has a very complex life style with more than 70 genes—traveling up and down the neuron and in and out of the skin cell. HIV has an extraordinary set of complex behaviors with only 9 genes—travelling with critical proteins in its capsid, evading…

The Remarkable Language of Cells

B0003526 Cells in the cerebellum

All living creatures communicate, providing group activity and defense. But, it has been surprising to find individual cells, also, have very elaborate communication. Amoebae communication is so complex that individual creatures are able to combine into what appears to be a multi cellular organism and then go back to…

The Very Intelligent HIV Virus

PD   Human_Immunodeficency_Virus_-_stylized_rendering

Several posts have documented the unusual complex behavior of viruses. In particular, a recent post, The Remarkable Intelligent Varicella Virus, described a wide range of different complex behaviors for this small herpes virus. Somehow, it is able to enter and exit skin and nerve cells; travel up and down along the…

Platelet Intelligence

B0006429 Blood clot with crenated red cells

Platelets have been mostly thought of as a fragment of a cell that stops bleeding and not much else. They can, also, produce damage because clotting can block arteries causing strokes and heart attacks. So, it is a surprise that recent research finds platelets have many other roles including being critical players in…

How do Microbes Make Decisions

B0004797 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up

How can microbes behave as if they have a brain? Microbes demonstrate complex decision-making and send specific chemical signals to colony members and other species, such as plants and animals. Their signals trigger group actions and behavioral changes including attacks. Slime mold microbe colonies show memory. Individual…

The Very Intelligent Skin Cell

Human Skin Cutaway Diagram, With Several Details.

The skin is the major interface between the body and the outside world with its trillions of microbes and environmental toxins. Skin has many layers and various different types of cells—keratinocytes, fibroblasts that make the extra cellular matrix, immune cells of various types, and sensory cells that connect to nerve…

The Very Intelligent Intestine Epithelial Cell

cells colors

Maintaining positive and negative interactions with trillions of microbes; modulating the immune system to accommodate thousands of different microbe communities; determining multiple attributes of digestion of food and production of vitamins; influencing the human immune system development and normal function; signaling…

Q and A with William Miller about his new Book on the Microcosm and Evolution

Book Picture

Many of the previous posts in Searching for the Mind have documented the cognitive abilities of cells, microbes, even viruses and perhaps jumping genes and prions. It is reasonable to consider that this active cognitive ability in cells influences evolution. Other posts have noted that in all animals, including humans,…

The Remarkable Intelligent Varicella Virus

bigstock Varicella zoster virus-6997801

Varicella zoster virus is an alpha herpes virus that has been described in a previous post as having  remarkable capabilities and a very complex lifestyle—the ability to travel up and down axons in a neuron, to move in and out of several different types of cells, to travel and multiply in T cells, to fool several…

Individual Bacteria Join Together for Multi Cellularity

Many bubbles  multi cellular

How complex is the communication among cells when individual bacteria join together for multi cellularity? Complex bacterial communication has been noted in previous posts. Each individual microbe joins together with comrades for many different activities including complex communication and decision-making. Bacteria in the…

Dynamic Relationship of Mitochondria and Neurons

B0003652 Mitochondrion (blue) surrounded by cytoplasm

This is the second of a two-part post on the remarkable intelligent work of mitochondria in neurons. Mitochondria respond instantly to mental processes and provide the fuel for all activities of the neuron — buffering calcium signals that determine axon firing and transmission of neurotransmitters; movement of vesicles…

Intelligent Mitochondria Communication with Neurons

B0003650 Three mitochondria surrounded by cytoplasm

Wellcome Trust Mitochondria are essential energy producers for many of the key functions of the neuron, including the movement and recycling of the vesicles that carry neurotransmitters, the assembly and movement of the structural tubules, the generation of electric charge in axons and dendrites, and the maintenance of…

Vesicles Transport Information

PUBLIC DOMAIN 512px-Lipid_vesicles

Communication between cells is ubiquitous in nature. Microbes use a language of chemical signals; human cells use a language of cytokines and neurotransmitters. There is increasing evidence for many other mechanisms of cellular communication including electrical signals and recently discovered nanotubes between animal…

Microbe Tricks for Entering the Brain

FEATURE ENTERING BRAIN   Stock_000009159110Small

The brain has many layers of protection from microbes. But, with great ingenuity microbes have mechanisms of traversing the tortuous multi layered pathways into the brain. This trip takes many different stages, and each stage needs highly specific complex machinery and signaling with complex molecules. Microbes are able to…

Intelligent Plants Use Proteins and RNA to Fight Invaders

FEATURE PLANT RNA   iStock_000019248452XSmall

The previous post described an intelligent war between viruses and bacteria using self edits/mutations of their own DNA and RNA to make newly produced protein weapons. The bacterial weapons are very precise, large proteins that attack each of the processes that viruses use—attaching to the cell, entering nucleus,…

Intelligent Virus Tricks

Bacteriophage T4 virus group #1

Russell Kightley The complex intelligent battle between bacteria and the phage virus determines much of what occurs on the earth, these being the two most numerous life forms. Half of the ocean bacteria are killed each day in this battle; the White Cliffs of Dover, made of dead microbes, are a small remnant of the…

Virus and Virus Like Particles in Evolution


Only a very small percentage of the world’s microbes have been discovered, and even less of the much more plentiful and diverse viruses. So, it is not surprising that many dramatic new viruses have recently been found that alter our understanding of evolution. The giant Pandora viruses and many new unique ocean phages…

Virus Intelligence Update

PUB DOM  Bdv_c

With the discovery of increasing numbers of different virus-like entities, all of which transfer DNA and RNA information between cells, the importance of virus intelligence keeps increasing. Not only do viruses continue to show new complex behaviors in adapting to any cell, organism or situation, they are, also, critical…

Human Cells and Viruses SUMO Wrestling

Bacteriophage T4 virus group #1

Russell Knightly The two previous posts discussed the highly intelligent innovations of the individual cell to avoid microbe attacks; and the equally intelligent innovations of microbe invaders. The ubiquitin and SUMO systems, which tag and modulate proteins is a major target of both cell defenses and microbe attacks….

Intelligent Cells Battle Intelligent Invaders New YouTube Video


New Youtube Video  Click here to see video This video is an introduction to three posts on the battle between human cells and microbes. The focus is on the unique intrinsic immune systems of individual cells, with innovations for each different cell type and each different microbe. The posts are:  Non Immune…

Microbe Innovations in the Battle with Human Cells

Influenza virus replication or life cycle in a host cell (W).

Russell Knightley The microbe attempts to avoid being killed by the elaborate defensive mechanisms of not only the innate and adaptive immune systems, but also, the elaborate defensive mechanisms of individual cells. In the previous post, it was shown that the autophagy process was an important part of the individual…

Non Immune Cells Also Combat Microbes

Сell structure

The first line of cellular defense is not the specialized immune cells, but is the individual cell itself. The surprising abilities of individual cells, called cell autonomous immunity, are now becoming clearer when non immune cells also combat microbes. In fact, individual cells in the brain have developed completely…

Jon Lieff YouTube Channel

Leadership with education

The new Jon Lieff YouTube channel was started with a series of questions and answers from a Skype interview by Evita Ochel on EBTV. To view the channel and watch any one of the videos please click here. The eleven videos are on the following topics: How does meditation change the brain What is the relationship…

Vital Plant Communication with Bacteria and Fungus

Mushrooms on a stub

Several of the most important factors needed for plant survival are very dependent upon extremely complex back and forth, multi-layered communication – these include the use of vital plant communication with bacteria and fungus. What is a symbiosis–two forces approaching and each learning the signaling language for…

Remarkable Microbe Makes Stem Cells


Microbes show advanced cognitive abilities – communication, group activity, and complex decision making. But, what can we say when a remarkable microbe makes stem cells?     How can the leprosy bacteria, mycobacterium leprae, turn a Schwann cell into a stem cell? Leprae’s captive vehicle, the stem cell, then…

Giant Viruses, Microbe Intelligence and Evolution

Bacteriophage T4 virus group #1

Jumping genes and viruses are drivers of evolution.  Bacteria show many cognitive processes.  Bacteria shed unnecessary functions forming symbioses to save energy, or to give energy.   Giant viruses show that viruses could have evolved from bacteria by shedding functions, but still having microbe intelligence….

Gut Feelings: The Brain-Gut-Microbe Axis


“I’m not sure I agree with that!” “I’ve got a funny feeling in my belly.” “I better watch out!” Theories of consciousness must run through the body. How integrated are the organs of the human body with the embodied mind? Are specific organs, like the heart and the gut, critical to emotions, unconscious…

Animals and Microbes: Who Is Influencing Who?

Cat and mouse 2

Do we choose our microbes by our behavior? Or do the microbes choose and manipulate us by their behavior? Our own eukaryote cells are the result of two microbes creating a working relationship (our cell and mitochondria). There is increasing evidence that these symbioses could be vital at every step of evolution. This…

Neurons and Immune Cells: Working Together to Identify Self and Other

Two-faced head statue, blue and gold

Who is there? Friend or Foe? Are you with me or against me? To determine an “other” we must know who we are. Recent research shows that the two systems that determine a sense of self, that is neurons and immune cells, work much more closely together than previously thought. Neurons use a rapid wired system of…

Microbes Made Me Do It! How Smart Are Microbes?

E coli bacterai

Microbes are everywhere inside and outside of us, vastly outnumbering our own cells.  Their influence on every aspect of life, including our own behavior, is just beginning to dawn on us.  What do they do and how much do they know? Previous posts discussed cognitive processes at the microbe level, such as the ability…

The Emperor of Cells – How intelligent are Cancer Cells?

B0006629 Prostate cancer cells

Microbes have abilities to make decisions, communicate, and solve problems (See post).  In fact, recently it has been shown that large numbers of microbes in the human body (ten microbes for every human cell) are in constant communication with human cells and provide many functions for normal human life.  These functions…

Why are Sponges and Yeast Stupid? Unused Microbe Machinery for Synapses and Oscillations


Despite having most of the genetic machinery to make neurons, synapses and brains, neither yeast nor sponges use these complex molecules for brains. Instead of using these genes all at once to make a synapse, they use each gene for other purposes one at a time.  But, it raises an important question as to why these…

Virus Intelligence: Are Viruses Alive and Sentient?

Bacteriophage T4 virus group #1

The definition of life is a huge unanswered question. It is obvious that microbes and multicellular organisms are alive.  But when discussing viruses, and prions, the definition becomes vague and inaccurate. Life is often defined as a comparison between animate and inanimate objects. Inanimate objects include rocks…

Microbe Internet, Electrically Wired Together for Energy and Communication

Microbe wires

Microbes have demonstrated very complex social relations, between other microbes and other species.  A previous post discussed elaborate chemical communication amongst microbes, including their collaboration in building biofilm cities.  Another post mentions how individual cells are able to form larger structures that…

Is the Mitochondrion Still a Microbe? A Mobile Cell Within a Cell Providing Energy, Metabolic Regulation and More

Mitochondria shutterstock_95248255

Scientists accept that today’s eukaryotic cells, which form all plants and animals, have parts (organelles) that were originally their own unicellular organism. This theory is called endosymbiosis. For example, one of the eukaryote’s organelles, the mitochondrion, was originally an independent smaller microbe. In fact,…

Microbe Communication, Quorum Sensing Behavior, Spreading Resistance, Altruism and More

More Bacteria

A previous post shows microbes communicating well enough to form structures and function as a multicellular creature.  Many microbes demonstrate an elaborate language of signals which elicit a wide range of other behaviors. Messages between microbes often take the form of secreted chemicals. One chemical message tells…

Mind with No Brain -The Microbe “Brain” – Sensory, Neuronal, Attributes of Microbes


People work together in a committee to solve problems, speaking and listening to each other, analyzing and synthesizing data, then eventually come together to speak as one voice. The brain does the same thing. It receives a variety of sensory information, then synthesizes and analyzes the data by sending it into…

Microbes can solve a problem

Groups of microbes have been shown to devise feeding routes as efficient as our human engineers. In one study, scientists drew a map of England on a large agar plate and placed food on the map in the positions of England’s nine largest cities.  A group of microbes were placed on the spot representing London.  Very…

Social Microbes


In the excellent book, “The Social Amoebae,” John Tyler Bonner, an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, describes many social abilities of amoebas including communication, group activity, and individual and group decision making.  Do these raise the question of cognition in…