G. Bernroider, J. Summhammer:
"Can Quantum Entanglement Between Ion Transition States Effect Action Potential Initiation?";
The involvement of atomic determinants in molecular models underlying ion-conducting proteins suggests a revisitation of classical concepts that are based on rate-theory models (e.g. `gating´ particles) and bulk solvation concepts. Here, we investigate possible effects of a quantum correlation regime within ion-conducting molecules (voltage gated ion channels) on the onset dynamics of propagating voltage pulses (action potentials, APs). In particular, we focus on the initiation characteristics of action potentials, (API). We model the classical onset parameters of the sodium current in the Hodgkin-Huxley equation as three similar but independent probabilistic mechanisms that can become quantum correlated. The underlying physics is general and can involve entanglement between various degrees of freedom underlying ion transition states or `gating states´ during conduction, for example, Na+ ions in different channel locations, or different coordination states of ions with atoms lining sub-regions of the protein (`filter-states´). We find that the resulting semi-classical version of the Hodgkin-Huxley equation, incorporating entangled sodium channel system states, can either enhance or slow down the rise in membrane potentials at the time of signal initiation. As in principle a single sodium channel can drive the membrane to an AP threshold, we suggest that the observed effects of a semi quantum-classical signal description point to a self-amplification of Na+ channels and may be due to quantum interferences within the atomic environment of channel atoms. If inserted into canonical generators of AP signals, the suggested quantum term can further enhance signal onset-rapidness, an aspect that has recently been observed in real cortical neurons and that seems to be inevitable for the encoding of high-frequency input.
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