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

Women with Neandertal gene give birth to more children

One in three women in Europe inherited the receptor for progesterone from Neandertals—a gene variant associated with increased fertility, fewer bleedings during early pregnancy and fewer miscarriages. This is according ...

Catch and release: Collagen-mediated control of PEDF availability

Cells are like tiny self-contained machines that are constantly fine-tuned in response to both internal and external signals. Some of these signals are induced by extracellular ligands, specialized proteins that bind to specific ...

Researchers use snake venom to solve structure of muscle protein

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered the detailed shape of a key protein involved in muscle contraction. The report, published today in Neuron, may lead to improved understanding of muscle-weakening ...

Scientists discover a new class of taste receptors

Evolution is a tinkerer, not an engineer. "Evolution does not produce novelties from scratch. It works with what already exists," wrote Nobel laureate François Jacob in 1977, and biologists continue to find this to be true.

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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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