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Signal Transduction Pathway
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Signal transduction involves the binding of extracellular signalling molecules and ligands to cell-surface receptors that trigger events inside the cell. The combination of messenger with receptor causes a change in the conformation of the receptor, known as receptor activation. This activation is always the initial step (the cause) leading to the cell's ultimate responses (effect) to the messenger. Despite the myriad of these ultimate responses, they are all directly due to changes in particular cell proteins. Intracellular signaling cascades can be started through cell-substratum interactions; examples are the integrin that binds ligands in the extracellular matrix and steroids. Most steroid hormones have receptors within the cytoplasm and act by stimulating the binding of their receptors to the promoter region of steroid-responsive genes. Examples of signaling molecules include the hormone melatonin, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and the cytokine interferon γ.

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