Changes to Signal Transduction Pathways


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My AP Biology Thoughts

Unit 4 Cell Communication and Cell Cycle

Welcome to My AP Biology Thoughts podcast, my name is Helena Holley and I am your host for episode #91 called Unit 4 Cell Communication and Cell Cycle: Changes in signal transduction pathways. Today we will be discussing factors that affect signal transduction pathways and their consequences in the body.

Segment 1: Introduction to Changes in signal transduction pathways

The first thing to know is what are signal transduction pathways? This is a process in which extracellular ligands/signaling molecules bind to receptors, which could be located inside the cell or on it’s surface, and triggers a series of events which results in a cellular response or multiple responses. Depending on the pathway this process could involve the use of a secondary messenger. This is typically an intracellular signaling molecule that amplifies the signal inside the cell in response to the presence of an extracellular signaling molecule in order to reach the target cell that will initiate cellular response. The signal transduction pathways can alter a lot of cell functions and that is why it is critical that all parts of the process function correctly. Changes in parts of the process can cause disorders and disease.

Segment 2: More About changes in signaling transduction pathways

The signaling transduction pathway is a complicated process that requires a lot of factors to work properly in order to reach the desired response, and because this process is so complicated there are a lot of chances for something to go wrong. First of all, mutations in signaling molecules could cause it to be unable to bind to the receptor and therefore the whole signaling transduction pathway will not be able to occur. This same situation can happen if the receptor was mutated, hence the signaling molecule won't be able to bind to the receptor. The next place where something in the pathway could be altered is during transduction. If one of the relay molecules is mutated this could stop the process from finishing or it could result in a different (potentially harmful) response to the initial signal. Certain chemicals can also affect signaling transduction pathways by either activated or deactivating a process and change the cellular response that happens.

Segment 3: Connection to the Course

Alteration in signaling transduction pathways can lead to diseases such as type 1 diabetes or cancers. This is why it is important to understand how the steps in the pathway works and where things can go awry. If we can understand where the issue is taking place that causes cancer or causes diabetes, we can help the individual by disrupting the cancer signaling pathway or giving the patient insulin. The signaling transduction pathway is used in the body all the time, whether it be during the cell cycle or after we eat some glucose and that's why it is crucial to understand the mechanisms by which it works so we can combat issues that may arise during it.

Thank you for listening to this episode of My AP Biology Thoughts. For more student-ran podcasts and digital content, make sure that you visit Eat a cookie you gotta make sure those insulin receptors still work from time to time!

Music Credits:

  • "Ice Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
  • Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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