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Autocrine Signaling

JoVE 10973

Secreted signals can act on a variety of target cells. In some cases, the cell that secretes a signal also detects and responds to the signaling molecule it produces; this is called Autocrine Signaling.

Under normal physiological conditions, autocrine signaling is important for homeostasis. This process is well characterized in the macrophages of the immune system. Macrophages secrete a variety of signals including the cytokine Interleukin-1, IL-1. The secreting macrophages also possess membrane receptors for IL-1 that, when bound, can activate an intracellular signaling cascade. The resulting intracellular signals trigger the secretion of additional cytokines including more IL-1 from the target cell. Though IL-1 secreted by these macrophages can also bind to receptors on other cells and cell types, binding to the signaling cell is important in the regulation of signal production. Autocrine signaling is also a major mechanism of cancer cell proliferation. Cancerous cells secrete a variety of growth signals to themselves, through autocrine signaling, and to nearby tissues. For example, progesterone appears to act in an autocrine manner in breast cancer, whereby progesterone binds to progesterone receptors on the signaling cell, stimulating the action of growth-promoting genes. Autocrine signaling can also play a role in the development of skin cancer by stim

 Core: Biology

ELISPOT Assay: Detection of IFN-γ Secreting Splenocytes

JoVE 10497

Source: Tonya J. Webb1
1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland 21201


ELISPOT is a standardized, reproducible assay used to detect cellular immune responses. The assay utilizes an enzyme-linked…

 Immunology

Biological Clocks and Seasonal Responses

JoVE 11116

The circadian—or biological—clock is an intrinsic, timekeeping, molecular mechanism that allows plants to coordinate physiological activities over 24-hour cycles called circadian rhythms. Photoperiodism is a collective term for the biological responses of plants to variations in the relative lengths of dark and light periods. The period of light-exposure is called the photoperiod. One example of photoperiodism in plants is seasonal flowering. Scientists believe that plants are cued to flower by the correspondence of their circadian clocks to changes in the photoperiod. They detect these changes using light-sensitive photoreceptor systems. Phytochromes are a group of photoreceptors involved in flowering and other light-mediated processes. The phytochrome system enables plants to compare the duration of dark periods over several days. Short-day (long-night) plants flower after a minimum number of consecutive long nights. Long-day (short-night) plants, by contrast, initiate flowering following a minimum number of consecutive short nights. Phytochromes exist as two interconvertible forms: Pr and Pfr. Pr is converted into Pfr during the day, so Pfr is more abundant in daylight hours. Pfr is converted into Pr at night, so there is more Pr at nighttime. Therefore, plants can determine the length of the day-night cycle by me

 Core: Biology

Social Proof

JoVE 11063

Social proof is a form of persuasion based on comparison and conformity. People compare their behavior and actions to what others are doing and will change to conform to do what their peers do.



A good example of social proof is from laugh tracks on television shows. Fullery & Skeffington (1974) found that adding group laughter sounds to material increased how humorous…

 Core: Psychology

What is the Endocrine System?

JoVE 10875

The endocrine system sends hormones—chemical signals—through the bloodstream to target cells—the cells the hormones selectively affect. These signals are produced in endocrine cells, secreted into the extracellular fluid, and then diffuse into the blood. Eventually, they diffuse out of the blood and bind to target cells which have specialized receptors to recognize the hormones. While most hormones travel through the circulatory system to reach their target cells, there are also alternate routes to bring hormones to target cells. Paracrine signaling sends hormones out of the endocrine cell and into the extracellular fluid where they affect local cells. In a form of paracrine signaling, called autocrine signaling, hormones secreted into the extracellular fluid affect the cell that secreted them. Another type of signaling, synaptic signaling, involves the release of neurotransmitters from neuron terminals into the synapse—a specialized junction that relays information between neurons—where they bind to receptors on neighboring neurons, muscle cells, and glands. In neuroendocrine signaling, neurosecretory cells secrete neurohormones that travel through the blood to affect target cells. Overall, endocrine signaling has a slower effect than other types of signaling because it takes longer for hormones to reach the target cel

 Core: Biology
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