Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine

LIGAND

Any molecule that binds to other, in usual usage a soluble molecule such as a hormone or neurotransmitter, that binds to a receptor. The decision as to which is the ligand and which the receptor is often a few arbitrary when the broader sense of receptor is used (where there is no implication of transduction of signal). In these cases it is perhaps a good rule to consider the ligand to be the less of the two thus in a lectin sugar interaction, the sugar would be the ligand (even though it is attached to a many larger molecule, recognition is of the saccharide). This entry appears with alow from the Vocabulary of Cell and Molecular Biology
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