Taihung Duong PhD

OBJECTIVES

■ To introduce the receptors on the surface and inside of cells

■ To introduce representative neurotransmitters

■ To explain the pathway of secretory molecules from production to exocytosis

■ To highlight developmental interactions between transmitters and receptors

OUTLINE

READ

6.1 Membrane Receptors 147

6.2 Nuclear Receptors 153 WRITE

6.3 Neurotransmitter 158

6.4 Cell Secretion 168 READ and WRITE

6.5 Synaptic Interactions during Development 174

The human body consists of about 100 trillion (100 X 1012) cells and the communication between them makes the whole organism more than the sum of its parts. Understanding how cells communicate with one another can shed light on the mechanisms of diseases resulting from lack of or miscommunication between cells. It is at the heart of tissue engineering to gain insight into cellular communication for medical applications such as transplantation, gene and drug delivery.

In this chapter, the molecules and mechanisms used in cell communication will be discussed. The main objective is to build on the reader's understanding of the cell biology presented in other sections of the book by focusing on the all-important cellular function, communication. This overview is by no means exhaustive since new methods of cellular communication are uncovered frequently. It is meant to familiarize the reader with common mechanisms of cellular communication and to present examples of the myriad ways in which cells can regulate this function. The emphasis of examples will be on nerve cells or neurons, since they specialize in communication. In an analogy to a computer receiving input information and processing it into output information, this chapter is organized into two sections, the READ, or input section, and the WRITE, or processing and output section. Each nerve cell in a neural circuit "reads" incoming information received from thousands to tens of thousands nerve inputs and "writes" outgoing information to the next nerve cells in the circuit. This is achievable because each nerve cell contains a large protein signaling machinery.

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