Posts Tagged ‘G-protein-coupled receptors’

The human body has about 1,000 kinds of receptors, structures on the surface of cells, which let the body respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and light.
“They work as a gateway to the cell,” Robert Lefkowitz told a news conference in Stockholm by phone. “As a result they are crucial … to regulate almost every known physiological process with humans.”
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it was long a mystery how cells interact with their environment and adapt to new situations, such as when they react to adrenaline by increasing blood pressure and making the heart beat faster.
Scientists suspected that cell surfaces had some type of receptor for hormones.
Using radioactivity, Robert Lefkowitz managed to unveil receptors including the receptor for adrenaline, and started to understand how it works.
Brian Kobilka and his team realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike — a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.
In 2011,Brian Kobilka achieved another breakthrough when his team captured an image of the receptor for adrenaline at the moment when it is activated by a hormone and sends a signal into the cell. The academy called the image “a molecular masterpiece.”
Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain’s Society of Biology, said the critical role receptors play is now taking for granted.
“This groundbreaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones,” Downs said in a statement.(AP news of Oct,10,2012/Karl Ritter,Louise Nordstrom)
For scientists creating new drugs this breakthrough holds tremendous interest. For a moral philosopher it may be in the manner cells react to external stimulation. Think of each individual as a cell. Cannot individuals like cells react to moral imperatives of Truth which is in an abstract plane? Biological imperatives of reproduction,- propagation of one’s kind, has an abstract counterpart in love. Truth loves its own kind and would see it accepted as natural as one breathes the air or winds down after a day’s work.
Each chromosome has its genetic material and so has a moral being the requirements of truth.

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