Artificial Signal Transduction

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Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1301
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5597.1301b

Extracellular signals can be transmitted to the cell interior when external molecules (ligands) induce the dimerization of membrane-spanning molecules (receptors), triggering a chemical reaction as the intracellular domains are brought together. Barton et al. have developed synthetic membrane-spanning transducers by joining two cholesterol groups with a linker; these can be incorporated into liposomes with a transmembrane topology. The sensor unit outside and the signaling unit inside the vesicle both use thiol-disulfide chemistry and are derived from the amino acid cysteine. Oxidation of the external sensor unit dimerizes the membrane-spanning transducers, followed by disulfide formation between the internal signaling units, which liberates a chromophore that can be measured with ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. The system should be adaptable to other sensor and signaling molecules and may be used for both sensing and controlled release. — JFU.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.41, 3878 (2002).

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