Coordination Of Cellular Activity With Changing Demands Of The Internal And External Environment

Cells perceive a variety of chemical and physical factors as indicators of environmental change and respond to them in coordinated and characteristic ways. The final response, or output, of any specific cell and the signals, or inputs, to which it responds are determined by its particular differentiated state. Thus, a pancreatic beta cell perceives glucose and secretes insulin, a muscle cell perceives acetylcholine and contracts, and a retinal cell perceives light and stops releasing inhibitory neurotransmitter. Despite their different specialized functions, however, all cells draw upon a surprisingly limited set of molecular mechanisms to connect input and output.

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