I believe information in computer is physically stored as a lattice of "boxes". Each box is either magnetized or de-magnetized. The computer reads this to retrieve and consolidate useful information.

My question is at the cellular level, how is information stored. I have tried looking the topic up and read about the strengthening of synapses. However, what is the low level mechanism for storing information? There has to be some "state" of the cell that can be processed.

By the way, so what is the physical mechanism behind each type of memory.

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    $\begingroup$ Haha, if we knew this, we'd be done. $\endgroup$
    – honi
    Nov 18, 2015 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ try cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5772/… $\endgroup$
    – honi
    Nov 18, 2015 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ As much as I know, still it's not found what "form" memory is materially, like, is it a liquid, neurons, or anything else. It's all still just an idea. And I don't understand the rest of what you inquire 😅😅 $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2015 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


One hypothesis about the molecular basis of memory is CaMKII
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 13, 169-182 (March 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrn3192
Mechanisms of CaMKII action in long-term potentiation

  • $\begingroup$ How exactly is information stored in the phosphorylated CaMKII? From that paper, it seems that the only constant is the phosphorylation. How exactly does the phosphorylation store this information if it is only adding a functional group. $\endgroup$
    – Halbort
    Nov 18, 2015 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ see The Stability of a Stochastic CaMKII Switch: Dependence on the Number of Enzyme Molecules and Protein Turnover Miller, Zhabotinsky, Lisman, Wang. In short, once CaMKII is phosphorylated (activated) it can phosphorylate other subunits of the CaMKII dodecomer, leading to a positive feedback loop. This gives a stable activated state. Naturally, the totally unactivated state is also stable. This gives two stable states, activated and unactivated that a pulse of calcium can switch the CaMKII complex between. $\endgroup$
    – honi
    Nov 19, 2015 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ Just to be clear though, there are many hypotheses, none of which have been fully worked out, and the significance of which are not completely clear. $\endgroup$
    – honi
    Nov 19, 2015 at 2:40

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