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What is an Effector in Biology? 

An effector is a small molecule that selectively binds to protein and regulates its biological activities. In this way, these small molecules act as ligands responsible for increasing or decreasing enzyme activity, cell signaling, or gene expression.   

An effector usually converts an impulse to action that also helps regulate the activities of specific mRNA molecules. An effector usually acts in unique ways in response to a nerve impulse. In the human body, effectors may be glands that produce secretions or the muscles that contract in response to neural stimuli.  

The muscles are further divided into two separate groupings. One is autonomic effectors that are the smooth muscles like the eye’s iris, and another is somatic effectors that are the body’s striated muscles like those found in the back and arm.

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 Effectors are responsible for bringing out the response that restores optimum levels like blood glucose levels and core body temperature. Effectors include the glands and muscles, and so their reactions produced by them have the hormone release or muscle contractions.  

Effectors are usually responsible for bringing out the response as depicted in the image. The whole process proceeds with the following functioning: 

  • Receptors in the skin find out a stimulus 
  • The sensory neuron is responsible for sending the electrical impulses to the spinal cord’s relay neuron.  
  • Relay Neurons connect the Sensory neurons to the motor neurons. 
  • The motor neuron then sends the electrical impulses to an effector 
  • Effectors then produce a response. 

The response produced by the receptors results in muscle contraction or hormone release.  

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