Cellular Signalling: A small note


Cellular Signalling: A small note

Cellular signalling is a complex ballet of molecules interacting and stimulating surrounding proteins, lipids, and ions, resulting in cytoskeletal reorganization, modulation of differentiation, and induction of gene expression. The choreography of events in signaling pathways has been a hot topic in the past few years. The intermolecular reactions should be viewed as a fluid dynamic process in which multiple events may be occurring at the same time. Many of the present experimental procedures document signal transduction snapshots of individual events, such as tyrosine phosphorylation, without the benefit of visualizing the whole stage simultaneously. However, newer assays using fluorescently tagged transfected proteins combined with live cell imaging analysis will both confirm and modify current perceptions of signal transduction events.

Many cell and developmental biologists who are currently analysing signal transduction in their systems have a similar story. We really did not start our careers expecting to be talking in three letter words and explaining cascades of reactions that led to our observations. One of us started her scientific career studying how the cytoskeleton controlled cell shape throughout the development of the optic vesicle, and then continued examining the role of the actin cytoskeleton in corneal epithelial responses to extracellular matrix (ECM). After several years of describing the morphologic changes in cells, it was apparent that an understanding was needed regarding how the changes in cytoskeletal proteins were controlled. This investigation led down the path into signal transduction.

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