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FIGURE 1–11. Principles of signal transduction.

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FIGURE 1–11. Principles of signal transduction.As described in the text, neurons regulate signaling pathways through multiple mechanisms and at multiple levels. Neuronal circuits possess a large number of extracellular neuroactive molecules (1; labeled A, B, and C) that can interact with multiple receptors (2). Binding of neuroactive molecules to receptors can result in stimulation and/or attenuation of multiple cellular signaling pathways (3), depending on the type of receptor, location in the central nervous system, and activity of other signaling pathways within the cell. Thus, the potential is there to greatly amplify the signals. This signaling can then converge on one signaling pathway (4) or diverge into many signaling pathways (5). Activation of signaling pathways alters gene transcription and activity of proteins such as ion channels and other signaling molecules (6). Additionally, activation of signaling pathways can both positively (7) and negatively (8) regulate the function of extracellular receptors. Bcl-2 = an anti-apoptotic protein; BDNF = brain-derived neurotrophic factor; CREB = cAMP response element–binding protein.

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