Signal Transduction Codes and Cell Fate

  • Marcella Faria
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 1)

In cells in general, regardless of their identity and functional status, the mediators of signal transduction (ST), the classic second messengers, are highly conserved: calcium, cAMP, nitric oxide, phosphorylation cascades, etc. At the same time, they are significantly less numerous than the extracellular signals (or first messengers) they represent, suggesting that this universal conversion of signals into second messengers follows the conventional rules of an organic code. Nevertheless, the way these second messengers are integrated and the consequences they trigger change dramatically according to cell organization – its structure and function. Here we examine ST beyond the generation of second messengers, and more as the ability of a cell in its different configurations to assign meaning to signals through discrimination of their context. In metabolism, cell cycle, differentiation, neuronal, and immune function the circuitry operating at cell level will proceed by the creation of conventional links between an increasing number of physiological activities, that is, changes in environment are progressively coupled to: transcription patterns; transcription and replication patterns; transcription, replication, and differentiation patterns; and transcription, replication, differentiation, and functional patterns.


Response Mode Transcriptional Network Semiotic System Organic Code Wiring Diagram 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Körner S (1984) Metaphysics. University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Faria M (2006). RNA as Code Makers: A Biosemiotic view of Rnai and Cell Immunity, in Introduction to Biosemiotics. In: Marcello Barbieri (ed) Springer, Dordrecht, The NethelandsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Huang S, Eichler G, Bar-Yam Y, and Ingber, DE (2005) Cell fates as high-dimensional attractor states of a complex gene regulatory network. Phy Rev Lett 94 (12):128701–128704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Edelman G (2004) Biochemistry and the sciences of recognition. J Biol Chem 279(9):7361–7369CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bourret R (2006) Census of prokaryotic senses. J Bacteriol 188(12):4165–4168CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bruni LE. (2006).Cellular semiotics and signal transduction. In: Barbieri M (ed) Introduction to Biosemiotics. Springer, Dordrecht, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Barbieri M (2003) The Organic Codes. University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Emmeche C (1999) The Sakar challenge to biosemiotics: is there any information in a cell? Semiotica, 127(1/4):273–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Falke JJ et al. (1997) The two-component signaling pathway of bacterial chemotaxis: a molecular view of signal transduction by receptors, kinases and adaptor enzymes. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol 13:457–512CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mendenhall MD and Hodge AE (1998) Regulation of Cdc28 cyclin-dependent protein kinase activity during the cell cycle of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 62:1191–1243PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    DiNardo S, Heemskerk J, Dougan S, O’Farrell PH (1994) The making of maggot:patterning the Drosophila embryonic epidermis. Curr Opin Genet Dev 4:529–534CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hanahan D, Weinberg RA. (2000). The hallmarks of cancer. Cell 100:57–70CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bateson G (1979) Mind and Nature. A Necessary Unity. Bantam Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nixon BT, Ronson CW, Ausubel FM (1986) Two-component regulatory systems responsive to environmental stimuli share strongly conserved domains with the nitrogen assimilation regulatory genes ntrB. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 83:7850–7854CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stock A, Koshland D, Stock J (1985) Homologies between the Salmonella typhimurium Che Y protein and proteins involved in the regulation of chemotaxis, membrane protein synthesis, and sporulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 82:7989–7993CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Galperin M (2006) Response regulators encoded in bacterial and archael genomes. Available at:
  17. 17.
    Bijlsma J, Grisman E (2003) Making informed decisions: regulatory interactions between two-componentsystems. Trends Microbiol 11:359–364CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shen-Orr S, Milo R, Mangan S, Alon U (2002) Network motifs in the transcription regulation network of Escherichia coli. Nature Genetics 31:64–69CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Milo R, Shen-Orr S, Itzkovitz S, Kashtan N, Alon U (2002) Network Motifs: simple building blocks of complex networks. Science 298:824–829CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dobrin R, Beg Q, Barabasi A, Oltvai Z (2004) Aggregation of topological motifs in the E. coli transcriptional regulatory network. BMC Bioinformat 5:10–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Keener J, Sneyd J (1998) Mathematical Physiology. Springer Books, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Fall C, Marland E, Wagner J, Tyson J (2002) Computational Cell Biology. Springer Books, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tyson JJ, Chen KC, Novak B (2003) Sniffers, buzzers, toggles and blinkers: dynamics of regulatory and signaling pathways in cells. Current Opin. Cell Biol. 15:221–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cohen IR (2004) Tending Adam’s Garden. Elsevier, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hidetsugu K, Yota M (2005) Transcription factors and DNA replication origin selection. BioEssays 27:1107–1116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Raper, KB (1940) The communal nature of the fruiting process in the acrasiae. Am. J. Bot 27:436–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Newell PC (1982) Cell surface binding of adenosine to Dictyostelium and inhibition of pulsatile signaling. FEMS Microbiol Lett 13:417–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Dustin M, Colman D (2002) Neural and immunoological synaptic relations. Science 298:785–789CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Goldbeter A (1996) Biochemical Oscillations and Cellular Rhythms. University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lahav G (2004) The strength of Indecisiveness: oscillatory behavior for better cell fate determination. Science’s STKE 264:55–57Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nelson DE et al. (2004) Oscillations in NF-kB signaling control the dynamics of gene expression. Science 306:704–708CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Tyson J, Csikasz-Nagy A, Novak B (2002) The dynamics of cell cycle regulation. Bioessays 24:1095–1109CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Goldbeter A (2002) Computational approaches to cellular rhythms. Nature 420:238–245CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Prigogine I (1977) Time, Structure and Fluctuations. Nobel LectureGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Neuman Y (2006) The Polysemy of the Sign: From Quantum Computing to the Garden of Forking Paths. Proceedings of the Gathering in Biosemiotics 6Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Edelman G, Gally J (2001) Degeneracy and complexity in biological systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98(24):13763–13768CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Artmann S (2006) Biological information. To appear in: Sahotra Sarkar, Anya Plutynski (eds) A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology, (in press)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Saussure F (1962) Cours de Linguistique Générale. Payot, ParisGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcella Faria
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of History of ScienceInstituto ButantanBrazil

Personalised recommendations