How does the lock-and-key mechanism relate to hormones?
Hormones communicate with cells by binding to receptors on the cell membrane or inside the cell. Certain cells express specific receptors. [ For example, the tubules of the nephron express receptors to ADH which is why ADH has an effect on those particular cells. Cells of the digestive system do not express ADH receptors and so are unaffected by the hormone.
Hormones work using a ‘Lock and Key’
mechanism. This is illustrated in Figure 02. Only a specific hormone 'key' will fit a specific receptor 'lock' - and cause the intended effect.
\ o |
\ synaptic  -| - receptors
| junction o | |
axon | o (space in  -|
terminal / o between) | |
/ o  -|
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