The concept of second messenger molecules in hormone signal transduction was developed in the 1950s by Earl W. Sutherland describing the cyclic nucleotide adenosine 3′, 5′-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) as an intracellular messenger molecule. The main features of this concept are the binding of a hormone to the extracellular site of a transmembrane receptor protein which triggers an intracellular response mediated by a second messenger molecule (e.g., cAMP). Shortly after cAMP was discovered as second messenger in hormone signaling, another cyclic nucleotide abbreviated cGMP (guanosine 3′, 5′-cyclic monophosphate) was first detected in rat urine (Ashman et al. 1963) and soon after was found in a variety of other tissues and biological samples. Every second messenger system requires the presence of synthesizing and degrading enzymes. For cyclic purine monophosphates these are adenylate and guanylate cyclases and specific forms of...
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