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Biochemistry of Signal Transduction and Regulation

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This book has originated from lectures on regulation and signal transduction that are offered to students of biochemistry, biology and chemistry at the University of Bayreuth. The idea to write a book on signal transduction was born during the preparations of these lectures where I realized that it is extremely difficult to achieve an overview of the area of signal transduction and regulation and to follow the progress of this field. The first book appeared in 1997 and was written in German. It was soon substituted by two successive English editions that are now followed by the 3rd edition which includes data and references up to 2002.

Cellular signaling in higher organisms is a major topic in modern medical and pharmacological research and is of central importance in the biomolecular sciences. Accordingly, the book concentrates on signaling and regulation in animal systems and in man. Plant systems could not be considered, and results from lower eukaryotes and prokaryotes are only cited if they are of exemplary character. The enormous increase in data on signal transduction has led me to leave out the chapter on ion channels and nerve signaling found in the former editions. This topic has since evolved into a huge research area of its own that could not be considered adequately within this book.

Our knowledge of signal transduction processes has exploded in the past 10 to 15 years, and the basic principles of intra- and intercellular signaling are now quite well established. Signaling processes can be described nowadays more and more on a molecular level and structure-function relationships of many central signaling proteins have been worked out. Research on signal transduction is presently focused on the characterization of the distinct cellular functions of the huge number of different signaling proteins and their subspecies, on the supramolecular organization of signaling proteins and on the interplay between different signaling pathways. The enormous complexity of signaling systems revealed by these studies makes it increasingly difficult to write a book that provides a truly comprehensive overview on signal transduction and considers all of the major new achievements. In consequence, not all branches and fields of signal transduction could be treated here with the same thoroughness.
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