- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 General principles of signal transduction
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Extracellular signals can act locally or at a distance
- 1.3 Most receptors are on the cell surface
- 1.4 Cellular responses are diverse
- 1.5 Signal transduction mechanisms
- 1.6 Signalling proteins can act as molecular switches
- 1.7 Localization of signalling proteins
- 1.8 Protein–protein interactions in signal transduction
- 1.9 Summary
- 2 Receptors and their ligands
- 3 Intracellular signalling components
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Trimeric G proteins
- 3.3 Lipid-modifying enzymes
- 3.4 Second messengers
- 3.5 Monomeric G proteins
- 3.6 Protein kinases
- 3.7 Protein phosphatases
- 3.8 Activation of transcription factors
- 3.9 Summary
- 4 Glucose metabolism: an example of integration of signalling pathways
- Next steps
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This unit explains the general principles of signal transduction and specifically, how...
This unit explains the general principles of signal transduction and specifically, how even the simplest organisms can detect and respond to events in their ever-changing environment.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- define and use each of the terms printed in bold in the text.
- understand the basic principles of signal transduction mechanisms, in particular the concepts of response specificity, signal amplitude and duration, signal integration and intracellular location;
- give examples of different types of extracellular signals and receptors, and explain their functional significance;
- describe the mechanisms by which different receptors may be activated by their respective ligands;
- describe and give examples of the structure and properties of the major components of signal transduction pathways;
- understand and give examples of the role of protein binding domains in the specific interactions between signalling molecules;
- understand and give examples of how signalling pathways triggered by different ligands are integrated within a cell to give a specific functional response.
Even the simplest organisms can detect and respond to events in their ever-changing environment. Similarly, within a multicellular organism, cells are surrounded by an extracellular environment from which signals are received and responded to. Extracellular events are decoded and transmitted to relevant parts of individual cells by way of a series of activation/deactivation steps involving many intracellular molecules. This relay of information along molecular pathways is called signal transduction; it is sometimes also simply referred to as ‘signalling’.
The molecular models shown in this chapter were produced using the Brookhaven protein data base (pdb) files indicated in the figure legends. These files can be downloaded, viewed and manipulated using a suitable molecular viewing programme, such as Viewerlite tm.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Molecular and cell biology (S377), which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Science, Maths & Technology course units or view the range of currently available OU Science, Maths & Technology courses.