Biology as Poetry: Cell Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Signal Transduction Pathway

Process of target cell reception, biochemical modification, and resulting response or responses.

That is, signal transduction consists first of signal reception. This is followed by the signal transduction process proper. Finally the end target of the signaling process is reached, resulting in some kind of biochemical response by the cell.

When considered in this manner, i.e., starting with reception of a signal and ending with the target cells response, rather than how the target cell's response affects body physiology more generally, then signal transduction pathways can be considered particularly as an aspect of cell biology. Indeed, the processes involved are primarily biochemical or, if they give rise to modifications of gene expression, then an aspect of molecular genetics as well. Consideration of these aspects of cell-to-cell communication thus can be profitably considered without pondering larger physiological considerations such as why the signal was provided to the target cell in the first place.

More global aspects of physiology, similarly, can be considered without delving too greatly into the nitty gritty of signal transduction pathways. Nevertheless, it is important to remain aware that the reception of signals by cells generally leads to some manner of signal transduction pathway and to keep in mind that signal reception and cell response can have larger physiological implications than are necessarily considered when studying a signal transduction pathway in isolation.

Video (Nice video of the controlled destruction of a cell, with lots of proteins and enzymes "flying" around)

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