Online College Courses for Credit

Secondary Messenger System: Phospholipase C Mechanism

Secondary Messenger System: Phospholipase C Mechanism

Author: Aaron Mullally

- know what a secondary messenger system is and its purpose

- know what the components of a secondary messenger system are

- know what the components of the phospholipase C mechanism are

- know which chemical messages utilize this system

This packet covers the phospholipase C secondary messenger system

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

47 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Phospholipase C System

Secondary messenger systems are used by chemical messenges that are unable to cross plasma membranes and interact with the inside of cells. The types of chemical messages that utilize these systems are the polar messengers (peptides, proteins, amines {except thyroid hormone}). Secondary messenger systems have these few basic components:

  • G proteins - G = guanosine triposphate (GTP) binding proteins. G proteins are attached to a portion of receptors. When activated subunits of G proteins are detached and either activate or deactivate mechanisms within the cell
  • α β γ subunits - these are the units that the G proteins are made of. The alpha and beta subunits are the structural parts of the G protein while the alpha subunit is the active portion. When a G protein is activated the alpha subunit detaches it travels within the cell and can either activate or inhibit certain actions.

This mechanism consists of receptors and G proteins like the adenylyl cyclase system but that is the only realy similarity. Instead of adenylyl cyclase another enzyme called phospholipase C is activated by the dissasociated α subunit of the G protein. This also activates other secondary messenger systems within the cell as well in the following steps:

  1. a hormone or neurotransmitter binds to a surface receptor which creates a conformational (shape) change with the receptor itself
  2. the conformational changes causes the α subunit of the G protein to detach (disassociate)
  3. the α subunit of the G protein interacts with the membrane bound enzyme called phospholipase C; this activates the enzyme
  4. once activated phospholipase C catylizes (breaks down) phospholipids within the cell membrane into two specific molecules: DAG and iP3
  5. Dag acts just like cAMP in the adenylyl cyclase mechanism and activates protein kinases, which in turn activates enzymatic pathways
  6. iP3 interacts concurrently interacts the smooth ER of the cell and stimulates the release of calcium (Ca²), the calcium then binds with proteins and activates enzymatic pathways
  7. DAG and iP3 are the secondary messengers in this system since the elicited the responses within the cell

*Chemical messengers that utilize this particular system are: GnRH, TRH, GHRH, Angiotensin II, ADH, oxytocin, α¹ receptors

*Costanzo, Linda. Board Review Series: Physiology, 2nd Edition. Baltimore, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998. Print

Here is a useful link that will take you through this step by step:

Source: Mind of Aaron

Phospholipase C Mechanism

This video covers the phospholipase C secondary messenger system

Source: Self made