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A ligand is a molecule that specifically binds to another molecule, often a larger one. Ligand binding usually causes a receptor protein to undergo a change of shape, which often activates the receptor. After activation, the receptor can then interact with other cellular molecules.[1] Ligands do not only bind to proteins, however, and can be larger than the molecules that they bind to.


  1. Campbell, Neil A., and Jane B. Reece. Biology. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings, 2002. Print.