Signal transduction occurs when an extracellular signaling molecule activates a specific receptor located on the cell surface or inside the cell. In turn, this receptor triggers a biochemical chain of events inside the cell, creating a response.
Depending on the cell, the response alters the cell's metabolism, shape, gene expression, or ability to divide.
The signal can be amplified at any step. Thus, one signaling molecule can cause many responses.
Members of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) protein family are intracellular transcription factors that mediate many aspects of cellular immunity, proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation.