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Ligand (biochemistry)

In biochemistry and pharmacology, a ligand is a substance that forms a complex with a biomolecule to serve a biological purpose. In protein-ligand binding, the ligand is usually a molecule which produces a signal by binding to a site on a target protein. The binding typically results in a change of conformation of the target protein. In DNA-ligand binding studies, the ligand can be a small molecule, ion, or protein which binds to the DNA double helix. The relationship between ligand and binding partner is a function of charge, hydrophobicity, and molecular structure. The instance of binding occurs over an infinitesimal range of time and space, so the rate constant is usually a very small number.

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This is an example of a ligand being used in cellular communication

Contributed by Stephen Shay

Very basic image of a ligand, this can be used to represent how the ligand can bind to these proteins to produce gene expression.

Contributed by Stephen Shay

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