The Cell In 40 Topics

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Communication Control in the Cell

Different hormones give rise to their own particular effects on the cells comprising the relevant organs. For example, the messages carried by the insulin and glucagons—which regulate the level of sugar in the bloodstream—have exactly opposite structures. For that reason, each hormone sets in motion different communications channels inside the cell. Receptors working like a communications switchboard locate the communication molecules, to which they will forward reports without fail (Figures 83 and 84).

At this phase, any wrong choice will damage the communication network and give rise to serious diseases that could even prove fatal. Yet the literally expert behavior of the receptors in the cell membrane maintains perfect communication.

This leads us to some important questions: How do the receptors stimulated by different hormones select, without error, the messenger proteins they need to combine with? How do these receptors manage to fulfill their duties without ever causing fatal errors?

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Figures 83 and 84.
Receptors working like a communication switchboard find communication modules to which they will transmit reports.

Recent scientific research has helped us find the answers to these questions. The cell's flawless communication stems from its perfect design, a manifestation of Almighty God's extraordinary creation.

Let us consider SH2, the module about which we possess the most information. This protein particle consists of two main sections. One part of SH2 bonds tightly to the receptor tail; it is the second section that gives the SH2 particles their fundamental property, that of working like a code-reading device (Figure 85).

The number and sequence of the amino acids in the receptor tail forms the coded message brought to the cell; only a form of SH2 module carries out the binding by resolving this code. In this way, a special line of chemical communication is established between the cell membrane and the nucleus. As you can now appreciate, all these complex processes are regulated according to a specific coding system, not haphazardly. This magnificent order is another sign that everything has been created in due measure, and to be compatible with everything else.

In order to show another example of this exquisite harmony, let us now consider the communications system that speeds into action to repair injury whenever—for example—a person cuts his finger. In that event, a messenger molecule called PDGF bonds to a smooth muscle cell receptor in the damaged blood vessel. As a result of this attachment, the arm of the receptor within the cell attracts to itself a protein known as Grb2, a messenger formed by the combination of SH2 and SH3 particles; it works like an adaptor to establish communication among proteins. In the wake of this, the Grb2 attracts a messenger protein called sos, already present in the cytoplasm inside the cell, which contains an enzyme to it. sos sets in motion another protein, ras. At the end of this sequence of processes, the command is transmitted to the relevant genes inside the cell nucleus, and the cell begins to divide, creating new tissue to heal the wound.

Based on the results of their research, scientists have arrived at the following interpretation: There exist mechanisms that automatically repair any possible flaws in the cell's communications system.15  These mechanisms, the product of a superior creation, are far more advanced than any control systems used in modern technology. In this way, hormones, receptors, adaptors, proteins and microscopic particles have all been acting in harmonious cooperation even since human beings were first created.

It's impossible to claim that such a complex order emerged by chance. The complexity in this system is far more advanced and extraordinary than the internal networks established by any multinational company with branches, production and marketing offices all over the world. Moreover, it is tiny molecules that are invisible to all but the most powerful electron microscopes, that enable this splendid network. All of its components are bound up with one another, rather than conscious, informed, trained and intelligent human beings.

One cannot, of course, expect molecules themselves to set up such a sophisticated organization. It is Almighty God, Lord of the worlds, Who created this system from nothing and Who inspires their activities in all its components.

The kingdom of the heavens and the earth and everything in them belongs to Allah. He has power over all things. (Surat Al-Ma'ida, 102)

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Figure 85.
The SH2 module consists of two main parts, the second region of which works like a decoding device. This is responsible for solving the code and decoding the message carried to the cell.

 

NOTES

15-J.D. Scott, T. Pawson, “Cell Communication,” Scientific American, June 2000, pp. 54-61.

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