Role of Signaling Molecules in Cell Communication

Signaling molecules are chemical messengers that transmit information within and between cells, regulating various biological processes and responses.
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Prepared by Shruti Sahoo, reviewed by Dr. Eugene Smith

Signaling Molecules FAQ

What are signaling molecules?

Signaling molecules are molecules that are used for communication between cells. Signaling molecules facilitate signal transduction, where outside stimuli are converted into changes in cell behavior. This process occurs in three steps:

How do signaling molecules affect a cell?

This may trigger behaviors in the cell such as motility, cell division, or even programmed cell death, called apoptosis. Signaling molecules can also result in responses like contraction, sending signals to additional cells, or restructuring tissue. The sections below explain more about each type.

What is cell signaling?

Cell signaling can result either from the direct interaction of a cell with its neighbor or from the action of secreted signaling molecules ( Figure 13.1 ). Signaling by direct cell-cell (or cell- matrix) interactions plays a critical role in regulating the behavior of cells in animal tissues.

What molecules are involved in cell signaling?

The molecules involved in cell signaling are signaling molecules, such as hormones or local transmitters, their receptors, and the internal proteins of the cell that transduce the external signal to create internal changes in the cell. Explore signaling molecules.

What are the different types of signaling molecules?

Types of signaling molecules and the receptors they bind to on target cells. Intracellular receptors, ligand-gated ion channels, G protein-coupled receptors, and receptor tyrosine kinases.

How do signaling molecules differ?

In addition, signaling molecules differ in their mode of action on their target cells. Some signaling molecules are able to cross the plasma membrane and bind to intracellular receptors in the cytoplasm or nucleus, whereas most bind to receptors expressed on the target cell surface.

Where does a signaling molecule bind to a target cell?

As already noted, all signaling molecules act by binding to receptors expressed by their target cells. In many cases, these receptors are expressed on the target cell surface, but some receptors are intracellular proteins located in the cytosol or the nucleus.

Signaling Molecules References

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