Signal Science on the Web

Science  30 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5415, pp. 756
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5415.756

L. B. R.

No matter what the biological topic—be it regulation of synaptic signals that underlie learning and memory, the cellular defense mechanisms that constitute the immune system, control of the cell division cycle and its disregulation in cancer cells, or even the mechanism of action of many commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals—real understanding requires knowledge of the signal transduction “language” by which cells communicate and respond to external and internal cues. Such biochemical signaling pathways that regulate cell function are the essence of the science now frequently known as signal transduction.

The explosive growth of the signal transduction field in recent years has resulted in the definition of many biochemical pathways that are used over and over again in various cell types to allow refined control of processes ranging from fertilization to cell death. Unfortunately, the over-abundance of pathways and their components, and the ever-increasing evidence that the term “pathways” is itself a misnomer because most such paths are interconnected in an elaborate signaling network, makes staying abreast of new developments in the field a daunting task. This is particularly true for those whose primary interest may not be the signaling mechanisms per se but who nevertheless need to understand or manipulate the signaling processes that control a particular biological event. For these reasons, Science has teamed up with HighWire Press of the Stanford University libraries, with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, to produce a new resource for scientists that will provide the world's most comprehensive, easily accessible, and integrated source for authoritative information on signal transduction.

In the summer of 1999, we will launch a new, exclusively electronic publication on the World Wide Web. At Science's Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment, you can get oriented with a map of signaling pathways that is actually an interface to an extensive database of information on components of signaling pathways and their relations, supplied by leading authorities in the field. Full text of the literature from top journals will be accessible through the map or through searches of the “Virtual Journal” of signal transduction. We will also publish original Reviews and Perspectives on signal transduction topics of particularly broad interest. Also unique to the site will be protocols for methods commonly used to study cell signaling. Users will be able to join in moderated discussions of timely, controversial topics led by influential protagonists. All this and more, plus weekly highlights to keep you aware of what's hot in the signaling literature, will be available soon from your computer desktop. If you'd like to be notified of future developments as we approach the launch, sign up now at

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