Electrical and Mechanical Signaling
Author Name: Keith Howell
Category: Genetics and molecular Biology
The Journal of Cell Signaling is a peer reviewed journal. This journal offers an open access platform for authors to publish their research. The Journal of cell signaling is an open access journal which mainly focuses on effector systems, such as protein kinases, lipid signaling pathways, cyclic nucleotide signaling processes, NO signaling and ion channels.
Chemical signaling isn’t your body’s only form of communication. Many cells also respond to electrical or mechanical signals. Two well-known examples of this would be regulating your heart beat (electrical) or signaling muscle growth following exercise (mechanical).
Your heart is composed of four chambers. Two supply blood to the lungs while the other two send blood to the rest of the body. Dividing the work means your heart does not beat all at once. It’s not like flexing a bicep. The heart beats more like a wave moving across the ocean. This very defined beating pattern is initiated and synchronized by electrical signals. Mechanical signals (think physically changing the shape) in muscle cells can lead to their growth and strength gains. When muscle cells are stretched—otherwise deformed or damaged—calcium ions flood into the muscle cell. This flux of calcium ions is the intermediary, changing the mechanical signal into a chemical one. The presence of calcium ions signals a number of cell signaling pathways inside of the muscle, including hormones responsible for muscle growth.
Two of your senses—touch and hearing—are additional examples of mechanical signaling. Your skin’s sensory cells respond to the pressure of touch. And sensory cells in the inner ear and brain react to the movement of sound waves. Whether it’s chemical, electrical, or mechanical, these processes share a similar goal. The human body has developed a number of mechanisms to sense, respond, and adapt to your environment—inside and out.
There are two classes of receptors: intracellular and cell-surface receptors. Location is important, so you can probably guess how they got their names. Intracellular receptors are located inside the cell. Signal molecules must travel through pores in the cell’s membrane to reach this type of receptor and elicit a response.Cell-surface receptors are easier to get to. These receptor proteins are embedded in the cell’s membrane. They bind with signaling molecules on the outside of the cell, but ultimately relay the message internally.
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Journal of Cell Signaling
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