Cellular functions rely on several communications networks that allow cells to rapidly respond to signals affecting the organism. A new study published in the prestigious journal Molecular Cell has revealed a mechanism that shuts down a major cell-to-cell communications pathway implicated in a number of diseases. INRS professor Nicolas Doucet and his research team contributed to the discovery of this new molecular switch, shedding new light on the role of receptor tyrosine kinases, a well-known protein family whose function is still being explored.
In a complex organism, cells have to coordinate and control widely separated actions to allow the organism to develop normally and carry out its vital functions. For example, a hormone secreted by one organ might act on the cells of another. A host of messages are constantly travelling throughout the body to keep biological processes running smoothly.
Why you cannot live without cell receptors
If we could observe a human cell in enough detail, it would appear to be bristling with all kinds of molecular sensors and receivers, like a forest of antennas on a roof performing a bewildering variety of different tasks. Most are specialized proteins–known as receptor proteins.
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are a family of proteins that carry
Article originally posted at