Summary of Session and Discussion on Intercellular Communication
Cells can communicate in three ways: by direct exchange between their cytoplasms, by diffusable chemical signals, and by chemical signals (e.g., adhesion molecules) fixed to cell membranes. The morphological manifestation of the first method is the gap junction, which appears in the nervous system as the electrical synapse. Diffusable chemical messengers and their receptive mechanisms are much more diverse, and their most obvious (but not exclusive) embodiment in the nervous system is the chemical synapse. Specific cell contacts guided by membrane macromolecules are important in developmental and immune phenomena. The first two days of this symposium were devoted to characterizing the gap junctions, synapses, and chemical signals in simple animals and, by comparing them with those of more complex organisms, to extract some generalizations about the evolution of the nervous system.
KeywordsBiogenic Amine Intercellular Communication Slime Mold Chemical Synapse Electrical Synapse
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