How To Learn About Signal Transduction Pathways

Signal transduction is a process wherein a cell transforms a type of stimulus into another form of signal.  Most of these cell actions involve a series of orderly sequences of biochemical reactions in the cell itself. These reactions are performed by enzymes and set off by second messengers.  The result of this entire process is called a signal transduction pathway.  In simple terms, this is an internal process undergone by the cells and molecules when the body senses something and transmits this to the brain.  It is a form of information metabolism.

The cell actions in the transduction handle the sensing and processing of a stimulus.  These constitute a molecular circuit that senses, magnifies, and integrates varied external signals to create responses such as changes in the activities of enzymes or expression of genes.  To learn more about this, the points below can be of help.

  1. The first thing that you should learn about signal transduction pathways is the behavior of extracellular signaling molecules.  This is studying the manner in which extracellular signaling molecules bind with cell-surface receptors that face away from the plasma membrane.  This is what sets off any event inside the cell.
  2. Environmental stimuli are another subject that you have to be understood in order to have the necessary background before learning transduction protein processes further. 
  3. After learning about extracellular signaling molecules behavior and environmental stimuli, you can then proceed to learning about the types of receptors. There are two types actually. These are intracellular receptors and cell-surface receptors.
  4. Cell-surface receptors, being integral transmembrane proteins, recognize most extracellular signaling molecules. Enzymes triggered as part of the signal transduction process and adapter proteins possess specialized protein domains, which are bound to specific secondary messenger molecules. These enzymes include protein kinase.
  5. There are five important subjects in the study of cell-surface receptors.  It will do you well if you make a study on each of these.  These are G-protein coupled receptors, receptor tyrosine kinases, integrins, toll-like receptors, and ligand-gated ion channel receptors.
  6. You must also learn about the difference between generalized transduction and specialized transduction.  The former is when all the areas of the chromosome are transduced.  On the other hand, the latter occurs only when particular parts of the chromosome near the attachment location are transduced.
  7. The next item you need to learn is about the second messengers.  These are molecules that carry out the intracellular transduction.  These molecules are calcium, lipophilic second messengers and nitric oxide.
  8. Finally, to learn the basics, you will also need to learn about the major examples of pathways.   These are CAMP dependent pathway, MAP Kinase/ERK pathway, and IP3/DAG pathway.  All these pathways have unique characteristics and use different sets of molecules and proteins. In CAMP dependent pathway, for example, protein kinase A is being activated.

There are certainly more topics and sub-topics related to the study of the signal transduction.  You will need to read more articles and books on the matter to have an in-depth knowledge.  However, it is recommended that you prepare yourself with the basic understanding of the terms you are going to meet.


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