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Distinction Between the Rate Theory and the Occupation Theory of Signal Transduction By Receptor Activation

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Two ways to describe the response after an interaction between a ligand and a receptor are the rate theory and the occupation theory. The response of rate receptors is proportional to the rate of association while the response of occupation receptors is proportional to the fraction of receptors occupied. Ligands are bound to receptors by dipole bonds and ionic and hydrophobic interactions. Ligand derivatives in which one or more atomic interactions with the receptor cannot take place will dissociate faster than the natural ligand. A faster dissociation from a rate receptor allows more associations between the derivative and the receptor resulting in a higher maximal response than with the natural ligand. The maximal response of an occupation receptor to the natural ligand and to a ligand derivative are the same. Analysis of dose-response curves allows discrimination between these two receptors even if the response can only be recorded a long period after the activation of the receptor.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Cell Biology and Morphogenesis, Zoological Laboratory, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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