. Second Messengers (1951–1990)
This chapter discusses the concept of a second messenger which arose from studies on the hormonal control of glucose availability and matured into appreciations of general mechanisms for signal transmission within and among all cells. Functional models depicted hormones activating the membrane-bound adenylate cyclase to produce cAMP, with the elevated concentrations of cytoplasmic cAMP promoting the conversion of phosphorylase b to phosphorylase a. Cytoplasmic concentrations of cAMP then returned to basal levels as phosphodiesterase destroyed cAMP. cAMP was designated a “second messenger,” since cAMP carried information from receptor to cell interior, while hormones, the “first messengers,” brought information to the receptor. The general process became known as “signal transduction.”.
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