Cell Signalling Group
Convenor: Adam Benham (Durham University)
The Cell Signalling group is interested in how information is processed in living cells. This includes understanding how cells perceive stimuli, how information regarding the nature of the stimulus is encoded in cells, how this information is processed and then decoded by the cell to lead to the appropriate end response. These mechanisms are important in many different biological contexts, such a bacteria responding to nutrients, yeast to hormones, human cells to drugs and plant cells to environmental stress. The aims of the group are to elucidate the key cellular components that are important in such signalling pathways, and in particular resolving the major conundrum of how specific information is encoded in cells. Key players in signalling include receptors and effector proteins, proteins involved in posstranslational regulation, as well as second messengers such as calcium and reactive oxygen/nitrogen species and the group is active in all these areas. Apart from being academically important, the identification of key players in signalling pathways will allow better drug design for human health, antibiotics against harmful microbes and targeted breeding for crops with improved stress tolerance, all grand challenges for the 21st Century.