When you drill down to the fundamentals of computer science you get to the bit; all complex data is essentially a representation on top of bits. I've always wondered what the quantum of human memory is though. What's the smallest thing that you can remember?
I always think about this because my living memories are rich-media with sound and sight and smell and feel. I suppose facts can be a smaller bit of memory, but how is that actually encoded? Maybe we'll know in our lifetimes, maybe not.
If you mean, "knowledge of the past" then even the simple neural nets of today exhibit memory when they can recognize your face.
So where does this face recognizing neural net store information about eyes, ears, noses, etc? That information is part of the neural net but it's distributed across all the neurons.
This type of memory system is much closer to how memory in the real brain works.
There is no polypeptide decoding machinery in the cell, proteins are functional chains with a lot of structure.
However cells do use external protein structure to communicate with neighboring cells (via protein-protein interactions) now we know they can send messages via RNA as well.
That said, GroEL does that (encapsulates various proteins and refolds them).
I'd like to hear any other book recommendations people may have related to this topic.