Complex multicellular functions at a unicellular eukaryote level: Learning, memory, and immunity

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According to experimental data, eukaryote unicellulars are able to learn, have immunity and memory. Learning is carried out in a very primitive form, and the memory is not neural but an epigenetic one. However, this epigenetic memory, which is well justified by the presence and manifestation of hormonal imprinting, is strong and permanent in the life of cell and also in its progenies. This memory is epigenetically executed by the alteration and fixation of methylation pattern of genes without changes in base sequences. The immunity of unicellulars is based on self/nonself discrimination, which leads to the destruction of non-self invaders and utilization of them as nourishment (by phagocytosis). The tools of learning,memory, and immunity of unicellulars are uniformly found in plasma membrane receptors, which formed under the effect of dynamic receptor pattern generation, suggested by Koch et al., and this is the basis of hormonal imprinting, by which the encounter between a chemical substance and the cell is specifically memorized. The receptors and imprinting are also used in the later steps of evolution up to mammals (including man) in each mentioned functions. This means that learning, memory, and immunity can be deduced to a unicellular eukaryote level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-120
Number of pages16
JournalActa Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Hormonal imprinting
  • Immunity
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Receptor memory
  • Unicellular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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