FROM AN ON/OFF SWITCH TO A DIMMER MODEL
Hacking a cell’s communication system is a common feat of information diseases, such as cancer. Understanding how information is conveyed at the molecular level is therefore crucial.
So far, one of the most common cell receptors – those molecular “detectors” converting an external signal into information used inside the cell – was thought to function only as on/off switches.
Researchers from SIB and the University of Lausanne have provided the first direct experimental evidence that these receptors can also reliably convey intermediate levels of signal concentrations.
The findings, published in Nature Communications, have fundamental implications in developmental biology, and open new research avenues for targeted drugs.
Keshelava A et al. High capacity in G protein-coupled receptor signaling. Nature Communications 2018 doi:10.1038/s41467-018-02868-y
Link to the SIB Computational Biology Group
Experimental set-up showing the individual response of cells to varying concentrations of a chemical trigger (acetylcholine). Cell stimulation (intracellular calcium concentration) is seen as a colour change from red to yellow or blue, and was monitored by dual-wavelength fluorescence microscopy. Source: Keshelava A et al. Nature Communications 2018 doi:10.1038/s41467-018-02868-y | CC-BY-4.0