Related topics: cells · protein · brain · molecules · nerve cells

Scientists upturn understanding of how key hormones act in cells

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have overturned conventional wisdom on the workings of vital hormone receptors within cells, a finding that could boost drug development for diabetes and related ...

Reverse optogenetic tool developed

A new optogenetic tool, a protein that can be controlled by light, has been characterized by researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB). They used an opsin—a protein that occurs in the brain and eyes—from zebrafish ...

How promiscuous protein droplets regulate immune genes

Biochemists at Emory are achieving insights into how an important regulator of the immune system switches its function, based on its orientation and local environment. New research demonstrates that the glucocorticoid receptor ...

Songbird ancestors evolved a new way to taste sugar

Humans can easily identify sweet-tasting foods—and with pleasure. However, many carnivorous animals lack this ability, and whether birds, descendants of meat-eating dinosaurs, can taste sweet was previously unclear. An ...

How density governs receptor activation on immune cells

Scientists from within the Antibody and Vaccine Group at the University of Southampton have gained novel insights into how an important class of immune receptors called tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFR) are activated.

Odd smell: Flies sniff ammonia in a way new to science

The stink of ammonia in urine, sweat, and rotting meat repels humans, but many insects find ammonia alluring. Now, UConn researchers have figured out how the annoying insects smell it, a discovery that could lead to better ...

How long-known genes continue to surprise researchers

The human genome was sequenced around 20 years ago. Since then, the sequence information encoding our proteins is known—at least in principle. However, this information is not continuously stored in the individual genes, ...

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Receptor (biochemistry)

In biochemistry, a receptor is a protein molecule, embedded in either the plasma membrane or cytoplasm of a cell, to which a mobile signaling (or "signal") molecule may attach. A molecule which binds to a receptor is called a "ligand," and may be a peptide (such as a neurotransmitter), a hormone, a pharmaceutical drug, or a toxin, and when such binding occurs, the receptor undergoes a conformational change which ordinarily initiates a cellular response. However, some ligands merely block receptors without inducing any response (e.g. antagonists). Ligand-induced changes in receptors result in physiological changes which constitute the biological activity of the ligands.

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