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A Cell's Sense of Direction

In eukaryotic cells directional sensing is mediated by heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding protein (G protein)–linked signaling pathways. In Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae and mammalian leukocytes, the receptors and G-protein subunits are uniformly distributed around the cell perimeter. Chemoattractants induce the transient appearance of binding sites for several pleckstrin homology domain–containing proteins on the inner face of the membrane. In gradients of attractant these sites are persistently present on the side of the cell facing the higher concentration, even in the absence of a functional actin cytoskeleton or cell movement. Thus, the cell senses direction by spatially regulating the activity of the signal transduction pathway.

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Resource Type: Journal article/Issue, Review, Illustration
Audience Level: Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Continuing education

Author and Copyright


Authors and Editors: Carole A. Parent of Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Peter N. Devreotes of Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Publisher: AAAS
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No

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