Its a wonder cells make it through the day with the barrage of cues and messages they receive and transmit to direct the most basic and necessary functions of life. Such cell communication, or signal transduction, was at least thought to be an "automatic" cascade of biochemical events.
Now, however, a study reported in a recent issue of Nature by Johns Hopkins and Harvard scientists has found that even before a message makes it through the outer cell membrane to the inner nucleus, the cell is busy activating a molecular switch to guide how the message will be delivered in the first place.
"Our results add a layer of complexity to understanding how messages are communicated by cells," says Mark Donowitz, M.D., professor of medicine at Hopkins and a co-author of the study in the June 20 issue. "But by the same token, the new layer offers an exciting new aspect of cellular circuitry that could lead to potential therapies for many serious disorders," he says.
Trent Stockton | EurekAlert!
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