Mitochondria serve as energy plants of the cell. The mitochondria of plants known as mistletoes are very small and many of the genes coding for the needed proteins are missing so that it seems that they cannot produce ATP appreciably. Somehow mistletoes however manage to get their metabolic energy. Mistletoes are parasites: could they be also metabolic energy parasites?
The respiratory complex I, which is the first one in the chain in which ATP is produced, seems to be missing in the mitochondria of mistletoe. This large protein has two catalytic functions. It catalyzes the transfer of protons against a field gradient through the mitochondrial membrane and the transfer of electrons from NADH to coenzyme Q10. Protons fall back and give their potential energy to the rotating shaft of APTPase resembling a turbine of a power plant. ATPase gives the energy to phosphorylize ADP to ATP. ATP transfers it to the end user as quantized metabolic currence, one might say. The production of ATP requires energy provided by the electrons transferred along the respiratory chain to acceptors, whose electronegativity (abilities to receive electrons) increases along the chain. As the electrons propagate along the chain, they lose energy originating from metabolites.
The idea that mistletoes could survive with a very little metabolic energy does not look attractive. One proposal mentioned in the article is that they could produce ATP by a much less effective method than usually - by a glycolysis burning sugar outside the mitochondria. This requires sugar: could mistletoes steal it from the host plant? Or could mistletoes get their ATP somehow from the host somehow receive the energy needed to transform the ADP of mistletoe to ATP from the host. Or could they get their energy as radiation by some mechanism difficult to imagine in the standard physics framework.
TGD indeed inspires the question whether mistletoes be more advanced energy criminals. Could they steal the metabolic energy by a mechanism that I have proposed to be a general mechanism of metabolism and called it quantum credit card or remote metabolism. They would effectively send negative energy to some system able to receive it. For this instance, in the transformation of ADP to ATP to get positive energy as a recoil. The energies involved would be around .5 eV which corresponds to metabolic energy quantum and IR energy. The model involves two ingredients. Zero energy ontology (ZEO) (see this) and the hierarchy of dark matter as eff=nh0 phases of ordinary matter (see this), which is a prediction of the number theoretic vision about TGD.
- In zero energy ontology (ZEO) quantum credit card mechanism would be possible by making a "big" state function reduction (BSFRs) changing the arrow of time for some part of the magnetic body (MB). This would mean dissipation with a reversed arrow of time. For a standard observer this looks like extracting energy from the environment. For instance, could the ATP of the host receive the negative energy signal sent by mistletoe ADP and transform to ADP. This would occur also normally but now in a much longer length scale. Could mistletoe send negative energy signals to the mitochondria of the host or even to the own leaves of mistletoe performing photosynthesis.
ZEO solves the basic paradox of quantum measurement theory and has very profound implications for the understanding of living systems and self-organization in general. Dissipation with reversed arrow of time looks like self-organization and self-organized quantum criticality very difficult to understand in the standard ontology because criticality is by definition something unstable becomes possible since critical system as a repeller with a reversed arrow of time looks like an attractor for the observer with the standard arrow of time.
- Dark matter hierarchy as phases of ordinary matter (also photons) identified as heff=nh0 would make possible quantum coherence of dark photons in scale much longer than the wavelength of order 2 micrometers. Hence this process would be possible in scales considerably longer than cell length scales associated with the ordinary metabolism. The system needing energy would send a negative energy signal to ATP transforming it to ADP and get positive energy as a recoil. This could be like a ATP-ADP→ADP-ATP→... flip-flop transferring the energy of ATP over intercellular distances.
If this picture is correct, something related to the ATP of the mistletoe should differ somehow from the ordinary ATP. The magnetic body (MB) of mistletoe MB might be this something. If it carries dark matter with a value of heff =nh0 higher than in the case of ordinary APT, the negative dark photons would have longer coherence length and they could transform to ordinary photons received by the ATP of the host. Quite generally, TGD view suggests that the increase of heff serving as a kind of universal IQ is responsible for big evolutionary leaps. For instance, the emergence of language is known to involve only a few genes, and the increase of heff for their MBs could be responsible for the evolution of language (see this).