Post-receptor responses to hormonal stimuli
It is now recognised that hormones bind to specific receptors on the outer membranes of their target cells, and can exert their effects without entering the cells whose metabolic activities they regulate. However, the molecular events which follow the hormone-receptor interaction are very incompletely understood. This short review will mainly centre on a critical assessment of the current state of our knowledge regarding the regulation of glycogen metabolism by adrenalin, glucagon and insulin. This is not only the system for which the nature of the post-receptor responses are known in the greatest molecular detail, but is also that in which cyclic AMP was identified, a discovery which opened up the area of secondary hormone messengers as the intracellular mediators of hormone action. The implication of cyclic AMP in the action of a growing number of hormonal effects (Robison, Butcher and Sutherland, 1971) therefore makes an analysis of this system a model of unique general interest.
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