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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