Agonist spectrum; Heteroreceptor
Biological receptors are proteins with specific shapes (conformation) that may have binding sites for hormones, neurotransmitters, and growth factors, control active transport of electrically charged ions across the neuronal barrier (e.g., sodium-potassium pump), and regulate the passive flow of small electrically charged ions through pores (e.g., chloride). Receptors are physiologically precise and respond to molecules that match a “niche” within the receptor. Niche is in quotes because the metaphor of a receptor as a lock awaiting a key misses the dynamic nature of receptors as well as the dynamic nature of a neuron.
Neurons are continually altering their shape, via dendritic branching and pruning, dendritic spines winking in and out of existence; the number and sensitivity of receptors and sections of the genetic strand are actively being read or suppressed. Receptors are equally dynamic. The protein molecules that form the...
References and Readings
- Brunton, L. B., Lazo, J. S., & Parker, K. L. (Eds.). (2005). Goodman & Gilman’s the pharmacological basis of therapeutics (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Stahl, S. M. (2008). Stahl’s essential psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific basis and practical applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar