Cell Signaling?


A few weeks ago, I was studying cell signaling with a few friends and it got me thinking about the ways people communicate with each other. The first type of cell signaling we studied was endocrine signaling which involves hormones. This signal is broadcast to the whole body. This is like Facebook. If you post to your Facebook wall, this message goes to hundred of people you call your “friends.”

The second type of signaling we studied was paracrine signaling. These signals go to the cells in the immediate vicinity of the cell that produced the signal. This is almost like emailing a group of friends.

The third type of signaling was nerve synapses. These can travel a long distance and are targeted at a specific cell. To me, this seemed a lot like a telephone call or instant message.

The fourth and last type of signaling we studied involved signal molecules affixed to the cell membrane of one cell contacting the receptor molecules on the cell membrane of another cell. This reminded me of face to face conversations since it is between one cell and the cell next to it.

When reading about this, this reminded me that there are many different ways to communicate with others and most of these ways have a specific place. By no means should we be sending text messages to tell the person across the table to pass the vegetables when a few words would suffice. Some misuses can be harmless, but others can be a little more dangerous, like Facebooking that you got stuck in a manhole when you should be calling 911. In any case, most methods of communication are actually quite good if used properly. I think we should try to remember which method works best for the situation at hand.

Don't Facebook when you are stuck in a hole

Don't Facebook when you are stuck in a hole

For the next week, don’t forget to email someone to pass the salt!


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