Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level. The Hidden History of a Fundamental Revolution in Biology
Gilbert N. Ling, Ph.D.
Pacific Press
ISBN 0-9707322-0-1

"Dr. Ling is one of the most inventive biochemist I have ever met."
Prof. Albert Szent-Györgyi,
Nobel Laureate

Chapter 11.

The Polarized Multilayer Theory of Cell Water
(p. 74-108)

11.1 Background

Before presenting the polarized multilayer (PM) theory, it behooves one to examine earlier ideas of water structuring around proteins and other macromolecules (for a more extensive review, see Reference 155).

Briefly in 1953, in more detail in 1955, . Jacobson offered a "water structure hypothesis" to explain the dielectric behaviors of aqueous macromolecular solutions. He said: "If the macromolecule has many oxygen and nitrogen atoms on the surface in such positions that they fit into the ideal water lattice, a very pronounced ordering effect is obtained and result in an almost ideal four-coordinated structure."334 p 2923; 384 Jacobson described the hydration shells thus formed as "ice-like" to distinguish it from ordinary liquid water, which also has a four-coordinated structure385; 386 but not nearly as perfect.

Two years later, Nobel Laureate, Albert Szent-Györgyi took the notion of ice-like water one step further. In Szent-Györgyi's "iceberg theory," crystalline ice surrounds protein molecules in living cells.387 pp 32-37 Ice-like hydration water on proteins was also advocated by Klotz.388 However, there is serious contradictory evidence against the iceberg theories.

Chambers and Hale studied freezing in supercooled frog muscle.389 They showed (and Miller and Ling confirmed297; 107 p 103) that ice crystals form promptly at the points of contact when (real-world) ice crystals are brought in touch with the exposed cytoplasm of a. supercooled frog muscle. And these crystals grow rapidly toward the intact ends of the muscle cells as unbranching spikes, which may be straight or twisted depending on whether the muscle fiber is allowed to stay straight or is twisted. If ice crystals truly exist in living cells at all times (as the iceberg theories contend), supercooling would have been impossibleas those pre-existing ice-crystals would have initiated ice formation spontaneously.

Contradictory evidence notwithstanding, both Jacobson and Albert Szent-Györgyi deserve praise for presenting enough good reasoning and intriguing experimental discoveries to bring attention back to such an important subject, which, it seems, has been pushed into the limbo largely as a result of Hill's urea-distribution finding (Chapter 7).

11.2 Polarized multilayer theory of cell water and its world-wide confirmation

The polarized multilayer (PM) theory of cell water, an integral part of the association-induction (AI) hypothesis,154; 15 pp 271-310; 107 pp 69-110 was published three years after the publication of the AI Hypothesis (AIH) proper. Notwithstanding, I have chosen to present the PM theory here first and the AIH proper later, because like LFCH, the PM theory also deals with the static aspects of the living cell. In contrast, the dynamic or inductive aspectbuilt upon the foundation of the static aspectswill be presented as part of the AI Hypothesis proper later.

In the PM theory all or virtually all the water in resting living cells assumes a dynamic structure different from normal liquid water, owing primarily to its interaction with a matrix of "fully-extended" protein chains present in all living cells.

By fully-extended, I mean that all the backbone NH and CO groups of the protein are not engaged in inter- or intra-macromolecular H-bonds. The fully-extended conformation is not to be confused with the "extended" conformation, which is sometimes used to denote the "β-pleated sheet" conformation.485 p 501 Under certain conditions, the fully-extended conformation corresponds to what is called "random coil" and what Bungenberg de Jong called linear conformation [6.2(1)]. But according to the PM theory, the fully-extended proteins in living cells and the water they dominate are not randomly distributed [15.1(1)].

Fully-extended protein chains carry on their polypeptide chains or backbones a repeating sequence of properly-spaced negatively charged CO (referred to as N sites) and positively charged NH groups (referred to as P sites), both directly exposed to the bulk-phase cell water. Such a matrix of fully-extended proteins chains constitutes an NP-NP-NP system.155 A two-dimensional checkerboard of N and P sites represents an NP system. NO-NO-NO system refers to chains carrying properly-spaced N sites alternating with vacant 0 sites. Conversely, a PO-PO-PO system refers to chains carrying properly-spaced P sites alternating with vacant 0 sites.


Figure 20. Diagrammatic illustrations of how arrays of alternatingly positively-, and negatively-charged fixed sites (on a matrix of linear chains [NP-NP-NP system], not shown or) on juxtaposed surfaces (NP-NP system) (A), or of alternatingly negatively-charged and neutral sites (NO system) (B) can produce the dynamic structure of polarized-oriented multilayers of water molecules. A stable three-dimensional cooperatively-linked assembly of water molecules follow from charge-dipole interactions with the fixed charged sites and from both radial and lateral dipole-dipole interaction with oppositely orientated neighboring water molecules. (From Ling155 by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)


Note that having a vacant site and having no site between each pair of nearest neighboring N or P sites are not the same, owing to the different distances separating the nearest-neighboring N or P sites.

Now, water molecules are special because the two positively-charged hydrogen atoms are not symmetrically placed on either side of the negatively-charged oxygen atom, but are asymmetrically placed, not unlike those shown in the formula, H2O. Accordingly, each water molecule may be seen as a dipole with a positive end and a negative end and a well-defined (permanent) dipole moment, equal to 1.86 debye.

On the properly-spaced, alternating N and P sites of a fully-extended protein chain are oriented and polarized a layer of oppositely-oriented water dipoles. This first layer of polarized-oriented, adsorbed water molecules in turn adsorbs, orients and polarizes a second layer of oppositely-oriented water dipoles. And this continues until a dynamic structure of multiple layers of polarized and oriented water are built up. Figure 20, intended to illustrate this dynamic structure, is unfortunately itself a static picture; and, as such, exaggerates the orderliness and stability of the dynamic water structure.

To be continued

"Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level.
The Hidden History of a Fundamental Revolution in Biology":

Contents (PDF 218 Kb)
Preface (
PDF 155 Kb)
Answers to Reader's Queries (Read First!) (
PDF 120 Kb)

1. How It Began on the Wrong Foot---Perhaps Inescapably
2. The Same Mistake Repeated in Cell Physiology
3. How the Membrane Theory Began
4. Evidence for a Cell Membrane Covering All Living Cells
5. Evidence for the Cell Content as a Dilute Solution
6. Colloid, the Brain Child of a Chemist
7. Legacy of the Nearly Forgotten Pioneers
8. Aftermath of the Rout
9. Troshin's Sorption Theory for Solute Distribution
10. Ling's Fixed Charge Hypothesis (LFCH)
11. The Polarized Multilayer Theory of Cell Water
12. The Membrane-Pump Theory and Grave Contradictions
13. The Physico-chemical Makeup of the Cell Membrane
14. The Living State: Electronic Mechanisms for its Maintenance and Control
15. Physiological Activities: Electronic Mechanisms and Their Control by ATP, Drugs, Hormones and Other Cardinal Adsorbents
16. Summary Plus
17. Epilogue 

A Super-Glossary
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures, Tables and Equations
References (
PDF 193 Kb)
Subject Index
About the Author

"Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level..."
"Gilbert Ling"