The receptors are ligand binding factors of type 1, 2 or 3 and protein-molecules that receive chemical-signals from outside a cell. When such chemical-signals couple or bind to a receptor, they cause some form of cellular/tissue-response, e.g. a change in the electrical-activity of a cell. In this sense, am olfactory receptor is a protein-molecule that recognizes and responds to endogenous-chemical signals, chemokinesor cytokines e.g. an acetylcholine-receptor recognizes and responds to its endogenous-ligand, acetylcholine. However, sometimes in pharmacology, the term is also used to include other proteins that are drug-targets, such as enzymes, transporters and ion-channels.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNFa, tumor necrosis factor alpha, TNFα, cachexin, or cachectin) is a cell signaling protein (cytokine) involved in systemic inflammation and is one of the cytokines that make up the acute phase reaction. It is produced chiefly by activated macrophages, although it can be produced by many other cell types such as CD4+ lymphocytes, NK cells, neutrophils, mast cells, eosinophils, and neurons. TNFb or TNF beta also bin on TNF receptors for Th1 activation.