Transduction (physiology)
In physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

, transduction is the conversion of a stimulus from one form to another.

Transduction in the nervous system
Nervous system
The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of its body. In most animals the nervous system consists of two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous...

 typically refers to stimulus alerting events wherein a mechanical/physical/etc stimulus is converted into an action potential which is transmitted along axons towards the central nervous system where it is integrated.

For example, in the visual system
Visual system
The visual system is the part of the central nervous system which enables organisms to process visual detail, as well as enabling several non-image forming photoresponse functions. It interprets information from visible light to build a representation of the surrounding world...

, sensory cells called rod
Rod cell
Rod cells, or rods, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that can function in less intense light than can the other type of visual photoreceptor, cone cells. Named for their cylindrical shape, rods are concentrated at the outer edges of the retina and are used in peripheral vision. On...

  and cone cell
Cone cell
Cone cells, or cones, are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that are responsible for color vision; they function best in relatively bright light, as opposed to rod cells that work better in dim light. If the retina is exposed to an intense visual stimulus, a negative afterimage will be...

s in the retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

 convert the physical energy of light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

 signals into electrical impulses that travel to the brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

. The light causes a conformational change in a protein called rhodopsin
Rhodopsin, also known as visual purple, is a biological pigment of the retina that is responsible for both the formation of the photoreceptor cells and the first events in the perception of light. Rhodopsins belong to the G-protein coupled receptor family and are extremely sensitive to light,...

. This conformational change sets in motion a series of molecular events that result in a reduction of the electrochemical gradient of the photoreceptor. The decrease in the electrochemical gradient causes a reduction in the electrical signals going to the brain. Thus, in this example, more light hitting the photoreceptor results in the transduction of a signal into fewer electrical impulses, effectively communicating that stimulus to the brain.

In the olfactory system, odorant molecules in the mucus bind to G-protein receptors on olfactory cells. The G-protein activates a downstream signalling cascade that causes increased level of cyclic-AMP (cAMP), which trigger neurotransmitter release.

In neuroanatomy, sensory transduction is the process in which a receptor cell converts the energy in a stimulus into a change in the electrical potential across its membrane. It causes the membrane to depolarize and allows the neuroimpluse to be transducted to the brain for integration.
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