Cells use a large number of clearly defined signalling pathways to regulate their activity. In this module, attention is focused on the On mechanisms responsible for transmitting information into the cell. These signalling pathways fall into two main groups depending on how they are activated. Most of them are activated by external stimuli and function to transfer information from the cell surface to internal effector systems. However, some of the signalling systems respond to information generated from within the cell, usually in the form of metabolic messengers. For all of these signalling pathways, information is conveyed either through protein–protein interactions or it is transmitted by diffusible elements usually referred to as second messengers. Cells often employ a number of these signalling pathways, and cross-talk between them is an important feature. In this section, attention is focused on the properties of the major intracellular signalling pathways operating in cells to regulate their cellular activity.
During the processes of development, specific cell types select out those signalling systems that are suitable to control their particular functions. One of the aims of this website is to understand how these unique cell-specific signalsomes function to regulate different mammalian cell types.
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