Pursuing the questions of how we learn and how memory is made, Edward Kosower introduces a novel and rich approach to connecting molecular properties with the biological properties that enable us to write and read, to create culture and ethics, and to think. Here he examines what happens within a single cell in reaction to external stimuli, and shows the parallels between single cell and multicellular responses. To address the problem of "learning," Kosower explains the molecular mechanisms of responses to input from taste, olfactory, and visual receptors. He then shows how these and other processes serve as the basis for memory. This study covers such signals for the molecular process of learning as pheromones (the molecular signals mediating behavior), light (activates the G-protein receptor, rhodopsin), and acetylcholine (opens the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor). Kosower's discussion of the structure and function of these complex molecules has direct implications for such areas as molecular neurobiology, bioorganic chemistry, and drug design, in elucidating approaches to the structure of drug targets.
Originally published in 1991.
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"Kosower is obviously an excellent teacher, for [his] account weaves together at web of facts about molecular interactions with cogent observations on their biological significance. One gets a sense of a personal view of someone who is sharing a lifetime's experience in the world of molecules. No hype here, only a love of biology for its wondrous mechanics and the deeply satisfying glimpses of the larger truths that move them."--Quarterly Review of Biology