Information Exchange Among Cells


autocrine signaling

form of signaling that occurs when a cell secretes a signaling molecule that acts upon the cell that secreted it

cell surface receptor

receptor located on the plasma membrane

contact-dependent signaling

phenomenon occurring when a signaling molecule remains attached to the membrane of the signaling cell even while bound to the receptor on the target cell

endocrine cell

cell that secretes a hormone and releases it into the bloodstream

extracellular signal molecule

cue molecule, such as a hormone or growth factor, that sends information to target cells


chemical secreted by an endocrine gland that targets a particular cell to produce a response

intracellular receptor

receptor located in the cytoplasm

intracellular signal molecule

cue molecule, such as cAMP and proteins, working as a messenger or a chemical signal


molecule that binds to receptor proteins

long-distance signaling

type of communication whereby a signaling molecule acts on a target cell far from the signaling cell

molecular switch

protein that either enables or disables a signaling cascade by acting on a protein involved in the cascade

neuronal signaling

transmission of signals by nerve cells at a synapse


small signaling molecule secreted by a presynaptic neuron

paracrine signaling

type of signaling whereby signal molecules only diffuse through a short extracellular distance before they reach the target cell


protein that binds to a specific extracellular signal molecule, which then begins a cell response

short-distance signaling

type of communication whereby a signaling molecule acts on a target cell located close to the signaling cell


coded message from one cell to another or within the cell itself

signal molecule

any molecule that involves the response of one cell to other cells or its environment

signal transduction

process by which a cell translates a chemical signal to a cellular response

signaling cell

cell that produces a signal molecule

steroid hormone

small hydrophobic hormone that can pass through the cell membrane and bind with an intracellular receptor


junction at which a neuron meets a target cell

target cell

cell that responds to a specific signal molecule