Why do hormone receptors arise?

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40 Citations (Scopus)


In view of the foregoing considerations, it appears that the receptor-hormone relationship is, by origin, essentially a cell-environment (chemical) relationship which influences cell behavior. With the development of multicellularity, the interests of the single (individual) cell became subordinated to those of the cell population (community), and the cell-environment relationship became modified inasmuch as receptor activity became integrated into the functional program of the entire organism. Accordingly, the 'open program' of the individual cell, which involved continuous dynamic changes of the membrane receptors under the influence of the signal molecules, was superseded by a 'closed program' for the given receptor, which gave rise to a chemical memory of the cell. With multicellularity the cellular functions have become integrated into an almost entirely predetermined program in which the quality and operation of the receptors are encoded to maintain the system of regulation, and impart differentiating features to given types of target cells which distinguish them from others, and delimit the response potentials of the species. A limited openness of the pre-programed system exists in the early stage of ontogenesis, and accounts for certain individual variations within the limited potentials of the species. The answer to the question posed in the title of this paper is therefore the following: the hormone receptors arise because the external environment of the individual cell is transformed at the multicellular level to an internal environment, in which the random variety of environmental molecules is replaced by a predetermined set of ligands (signal molecules). Under these conditions the randomlypresented membrane patterns capable of signal reception are transformed to encoded receptor structures which execute a programed function of the closed system, but nevertheless preserve some primordial traits, which can explain many surprising observations in the field of receptor physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-718
Number of pages4
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 1986


  • Hormone receptors
  • evolution of recognition
  • receptor phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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