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Signal transduction is the process by which an extracellular signaling molecule activates a membrane receptor that in turn alters intracellular molecules creating a response. Transmembrane receptors span the cell membrane, with part of the receptor outside and part inside the cell. The chemical signal binds to the outer portion of the receptor, changing its shape and conveying another signal inside the cell. Some chemical messengers, such as testosterone, can pass through the cell membrane, and bind directly to receptors in the cytoplasm or nucleus. Sometimes there is a cascade of signals within the cell. With each step of the cascade, the signal can be amplified, so a small signal can result in a large response.Eventually, the signal creates a change in the cell, either in the expression of the DNA in the nucleus or in the activity of enzymes in the cytoplasm.
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