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Chapter 11: Cell Communication

Cell-to-cell communication is essential for


multicellular organisms
The combined effects of multiple signals
determine cell response
A signal transduction pathway is a series
of steps by which a signal on a cells surface
is converted into a specific cellular response
Local and Long-Distance Signaling

Cells in a multicellular organism communicate


by chemical messengers
Animal and plant cells have cell junctions that
directly connect the cytoplasm of adjacent cells
In local signaling, animal cells may
communicate by direct contact, or cell-cell
recognition
Plasma membranes
Fig. 11-4

Gap junctions Plasmodesmata


between animal cells between plant cells

(a) Cell junctions

(b) Cell-cell recognition


In many other cases, animal cells communicate
using messenger molecules that travel only
short distances
In long-distance signaling, plants and animals
use chemicals called hormones
Fig. 11-5

Local signaling Long-distance signaling

Target cell Electrical signal Endocrine cell Blood


along nerve cell vessel
triggers release of
neurotransmitter

Neurotransmitter
Secreting Secretory diffuses across
cell vesicle synapse Hormone travels
in bloodstream
to target cells

Local regulator
diffuses through Target cell Target
extracellular fluid is stimulated cell

(a) Paracrine signaling (b) Synaptic signaling

(c) Hormonal signaling


Cells receiving signals go through three
processes:
Reception
Transduction
Response
Fig. 11-6-1

EXTRACELLULAR CYTOPLASM
FLUID
Plasma membrane

1 Reception
Receptor

Signaling
molecule
Fig. 11-6-2

EXTRACELLULAR CYTOPLASM
FLUID
Plasma membrane

1 Reception 2 Transduction

Receptor

Relay molecules in a signal transduction pathway

Signaling
molecule
Fig. 11-6-3

EXTRACELLULAR CYTOPLASM
FLUID
Plasma membrane

1 Reception 2 Transduction 3 Response


Receptor
Activation
of cellular
response
Relay molecules in a signal transduction pathway

Signaling
molecule
Reception: the binding between a signal
molecule (ligand) and receptor is highly
specific
The receptor changes shape, which is often the
initial transduction of the signal
Most signal receptors are plasma membrane
proteins
Most water-soluble (polar) signal molecules
bind to specific sites on receptor proteins in the
plasma membrane. These ligands cannot cross
the cell membrane.
There are three main types of membrane
receptors:
G protein-coupled receptors
Receptor tyrosine kinases
Ion channel receptors
A G protein-coupled receptor is a plasma
membrane receptor that works with the help of
a G protein
The G protein acts as an on/off switch: If GDP
is bound to the G protein, the G protein is
inactive. If GTP is bound to the G protein, the
G protein is active.
Receptor tyrosine kinases are membrane
receptors that attach phosphates to amino
acids called tyrosines
Can trigger multiple signal transduction
pathways at once
Signaling Ligand-binding site
molecule (ligand)
Signaling
molecule
Helix

Tyr Tyr Tyr Tyr Tyr


Tyr
Tyrosines Tyr Tyr
Tyr Tyr Tyr Tyr
Tyr Tyr Tyr Tyr Tyr
Tyr

Receptor tyrosine
kinase proteins Dimer
CYTOPLASM

1 2
Fig. 11-7c
Activated relay
proteins

Cellular
Tyr Tyr P Tyr Tyr P Tyr Tyr P response 1
P
Tyr Tyr P Tyr Tyr P P Tyr Tyr P
Tyr Tyr P Tyr Tyr P P Tyr Tyr P Cellular
6 ATP 6 ADP response 2

Activated tyrosine Fully activated receptor


kinase regions tyrosine kinase
Inactive
relay proteins

3 4
A ligand-gated ion channel receptor acts as a
gate when the receptor changes shape
When a signal molecule binds as a ligand to
the receptor, the gate allows specific ions, such
as Na+ or Ca2+, through a channel in the
receptor
1 Signaling
Gate
molecule closed Ions
(ligand)

Fig. 11-7d

Plasma
Ligand-gated membrane
ion channel receptor

2 Gate open

Cellular
response

3 Gate closed
Intracellular Receptors
Small or hydrophobic ligands have intracellular
receptors, found in the cytosol or nucleus of
target cells
Examples of hydrophobic messengers are the
steroid and thyroid hormones of animals
An activated hormone-receptor complex can
act as a transcription factor, turning on specific
genes
Hormone EXTRACELLULAR
(testosterone) FLUID

Fig. 11-8-1
Plasma
membrane
Receptor
protein

DNA

NUCLEUS

CYTOPLASM
Hormone EXTRACELLULAR
(testosterone) FLUID

Fig. 11-8-2

Plasma
membrane
Receptor
protein
Hormone-
receptor
complex

DNA

NUCLEUS

CYTOPLASM
Hormone EXTRACELLULAR
(testosterone) FLUID

Fig. 11-8-3

Plasma
membrane
Receptor
protein
Hormone-
receptor
complex

DNA

NUCLEUS

CYTOPLASM
Hormone EXTRACELLULAR
(testosterone) FLUID

Fig. 11-8-4
Plasma
membrane
Receptor
protein
Hormone-
receptor
complex

DNA

mRNA

NUCLEUS

CYTOPLASM
Hormone EXTRACELLULAR
(testosterone) FLUID

Fig. 11-8-5
Plasma
membrane
Receptor
protein
Hormone-
receptor
complex

DNA

mRNA

NUCLEUS New protein

CYTOPLASM
Signal transduction usually involves multiple
steps
Can amplify a signal: A few molecules can
produce a large cellular response
Can provide more opportunities for regulation
of the cellular response
Like falling dominoes, the receptor activates
another protein, which activates another, and
so on, until the protein producing the response
is activated
At each step, the signal is transduced into a
different form, usually a shape change in a
protein
In many pathways, the signal is transmitted by
a cascade of protein phosphorylations
Protein kinases transfer phosphates from
ATP to protein, a process called
phosphorylation. Turns the protein ON.
Protein phosphatases remove the
phosphates from proteins, a process called
dephosphorylation. Turns the protein OFF.
The extracellular signal molecule (ligand) that
binds to the receptor is a pathways first
messenger
Second messengers are small, nonprotein,
water-soluble molecules or ions that spread
throughout a cell by diffusion
Cyclic AMP and calcium ions are common
second messengers
Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is one of the most widely
used second messengers
Adenylyl cyclase, an enzyme in the plasma
membrane, converts ATP to cAMP in response
to an extracellular signal
Calcium ions (Ca2+) act as a second
messenger in many pathways
Calcium is an important second messenger
because cells can regulate its concentration
EXTRACELLULAR
Plasma
FLUID
membrane

Ca2+ pump
Fig. 11-12 ATP
Mitochondrion

Nucleus

CYTOSOL

Ca2+
pump
Endoplasmic
reticulum (ER)
Ca2+
ATP pump

Key

High [Ca2+]
Low [Ca2+]
Nuclear and Cytoplasmic Responses

Ultimately, a signal transduction pathway leads


to regulation of one or more cellular activities
The response may occur in the cytoplasm or
may involve action in the nucleus