Ann Pharmacol Pharm | Volume 5, Issue 4 | Review Article | Open Access

Earl W Sutherland (1915-1974) and the Concept of Second Messengers

Ronald P Rubin*

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA

*Correspondance to: Ronald P Rubin 

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The discovery of cAMP in the liver by Earl Sutherland in 1956 was paradigmatic and of fundamental biological significance because it revealed how hormones and neurotransmitters exert their selective effects on cells. This work spawned studies in many other cell types that demonstrated the occurrence of a signaling mechanism that regulated a variety of cell functions and metabolic processes, such as lipolysis, glycogenolysis, as well as the permeability of ion channels and gene expression. Sutherland expanded his analysis of second messenger systems by focusing on cGMP, which is also widely distributed in mammalian tissues but differs from cAMP in its basic properties. By establishing the field of second messenger systems, Earl Sutherland laid the foundation of a new concept of cell regulation. He clearly ranks as a memorable figure in the annals of scientific immortals.


cAMP; Cyclic nucleotides; Adenylyl cyclase; Second messenger systems; Cell regulation; cGMP; Phosphorylation


Rubin RP. Earl W Sutherland (1915- 1974) and the Concept of Second Messengers. Ann Pharmacol Pharm. 2020;5(4):1188.

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