Session 15 (Cell Signaling and Communication)

Session 15 (Cell Signaling and Communication) - MCB 181...

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MCB 181 Study Session 15 (Cell Signaling and Communication)
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Learning Goals for Study Session 15 (Cell Signaling and Communication) Be able to describe what is meant by cell signaling and communication and indicate why it has fundamental implications for better understanding of biology and medicine. Briefly describe why most signal molecules are unable to penetrate the plasma membrane and the consequences of this for the nature of receptors. Distinguish between the reception, transduction and response stages of cell signaling and give an example of each in the response of E. coli to high solute concentration in its environment. Be able to describe the major characteristics of G-protein linked, protein kinase, and ion channel receptors. Describe why cells have such elaborate transduction pathways such as phosphorylation cascades. Define the term second messenger and compare the function of cyclic AMP and Calcium ion as second messengers. Briefly describe the signaling pathways leading to cellular responses such as smooth muscle relaxation, odorant detection and growth factor induced changes in gene expression. Describe the fundamental difference between signaling pathways for polar and nonpolar signals.
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Cell Signaling and Communication Cells must communicate with their environment and with other cells. They communicate by responding to a variety of physical (e.g. touch, odor, light) and chemical (e.g. hormones) signals. There are universal mechanisms among the kingdoms of organisms for receiving and interpreting signals. The study of cell signaling has helped scientists address important problems in biology (e.g. embryo development) and medicine (e.g. cancer). In this study session we consider how cells respond to signals from their external environment.
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Cells and Membranes Recall that biological membranes partition eukaryotic cells into various compartments and separate the inside from the outside of the cell. The exchange of information and materials between compartments or from the external environment requires transfer through a hydrophobic membrane.
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Cell Membrane Structure Cell membranes consist of a fluid lipid bilayer with functional proteins embedded in and/or extending through the bilayer. Membranes have specialized proteins that help them to perform specific functions. The plasma membrane has proteins that specialize in transfer of ions, small molecules and numerous chemical signals.
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In this study session, simplified membrane diagrams are used to depict cell signaling pathways. For clarity, membrane structures are simplified in depictions of how their proteins interact with signals (compare figure below right with the more detailed depiction on the left). Changes in shape (often highlighted in yellow) are exaggerated to make the
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Session 15 (Cell Signaling and Communication) - MCB 181...

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