Definition of a cellular signal

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Tue Sep 19 07:37:48 EST 2000


"Vladimir Matveev" <vm_spb at my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:8q769t$pvh$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> You are limited by reception processes, and I would like to receive a
> general definition. The interactions in a cell can be of physical
> nature too not only by molecular nature (molecule-receptor
> interaction). In addition, signalling can has complex nature.

I was vague because I don't think there is a formal definition for this
very general idea.  Cells can have electrical connections and
communicate by passing electrical signals to each other, or by
physically pulling on another, but that is not what most people
mean by "cell signaling".  It is exactly the chemical method that
is usually meant.  And the interactions can indeed
be very complex.  That is why it is such a big subject now.

>
> In article <nMzx5.38973$_e4.1823900 at typhoon.mw.mediaone.net>,
>   "Richard Norman" <rsnorman at mediaone.net> wrote:
> > "Vladimir Matveev" <vm_spb at my-deja.com> wrote in message
> > news:8q4rn0$16r$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> > > Everybody in cell biology speak now about cellular SIGNALs. But who
> > > knows the DEFINITION of a signal? Who given the definition? Where it
> > > was published? Please, help me find the definition in the
> literature.
> > > Can YOU give the definition?
> > > Thank everybody in advance.
> > >
> >
> > Are you interested in the history or in what cell signaling is?
> >
> > For the definition, it refers to the process by which one cell can
> > communicate with or control another.  Now it usually means
> > the method of communication where a molecule from one cell binds
> > to a receptor in the other to initiate the control process.  The usual
> > example is hormonal control.  For details, see Alberts et al,
> > Molecular Biology of the Cell which has nice chapter on the subject.
> >
> > For the history, a cell biologist, biochemist, and physiologist
> > in my department recall that it was a term certainly in use in
> > the 80's and possibly earlier.  I (the physiologist) thought it
> > arose from Sutherland's work on 2nd messengers in the late 60's
> > and 70's,  but the biochemist thought it might have derived also
> > from the signals involved in contact inhibition.  All of us agreed
> > that the phrase is so descriptive of the general phenomenon
> > that it was not really a "new word" requiring a citation or
> definition.
> >
> > I did find a 1969 edition of Dowben's "General Physiology, a
> > Molecular Approach" where there was no mention of the concept.
> > All my other ancient texts were long since discarded so I can't
> > trace a time line.
> >
> >
>
>
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