Concept

Effector (biology)

Summary
In biology, an effector is a general term that can refer to several types of molecules or cells depending on the context: Small molecule effectors
  • A small molecule that selectively binds to a protein to regulate its biological activity can be called an effector. In this manner, effector molecules act as ligands that can increase or decrease enzyme activity, gene expression, influence cell signaling, or other protein functions. An example of such an effector is oxygen, which is an allosteric effector of hemoglobin - oxygen binding to one of the four hemoglobin subunits greatly increases the affinity of the rest of the subunits to oxygen. Certain drug molecules also fall into this category - for example the antibiotic rifampicin used in the treatment of tuberculosis binds the initiation σ factor subunit of the bacterial RNA polymerase, preventing the transcription of bacterial genes.
  • The term can also be used to describe small molecules that can directly bind to and regulate the e
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