Cell surface receptor

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Cell surface receptors (also known as membrane receptors, transmembrane receptors, or cellular receptors) are proteins that are located on the cell membrane and serve as a communication link between the cell and the external environment. They play a crucial role in the body's communication system and are involved in a wide range of biological processes, including cell signaling, immune responses, and the regulation of cell growth and differentiation.

Structure[edit | edit source]

Cell surface receptors are typically composed of three parts: an extracellular domain, a transmembrane domain, and an intracellular domain. The extracellular domain is the part of the receptor that interacts with external signals or ligands. The transmembrane domain anchors the receptor in the cell membrane, and the intracellular domain transmits the signal inside the cell.

Function[edit | edit source]

The primary function of cell surface receptors is to detect signals from the external environment and transmit them into the cell. This process, known as signal transduction, involves a series of biochemical reactions that lead to a cellular response. The type of response depends on the specific receptor and the signal it receives. For example, some receptors trigger a change in cell metabolism, while others initiate cell division or apoptosis (programmed cell death).

Types of Cell Surface Receptors[edit | edit source]

There are several types of cell surface receptors, including G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), and ion channel-linked receptors. Each type has a unique structure and function, and they all play a critical role in cell signaling.

G Protein-Coupled Receptors[edit | edit source]

GPCRs are the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors in eukaryotes. They respond to a wide range of signals, including hormones, neurotransmitters, and light. When a ligand binds to a GPCR, it activates a G protein, which then triggers a series of events inside the cell.

Receptor Tyrosine Kinases[edit | edit source]

RTKs are high-affinity cell surface receptors for many polypeptide growth factors, cytokines, and hormones. When a ligand binds to an RTK, it triggers the receptor's kinase activity, leading to the phosphorylation of tyrosine residues and the activation of various intracellular signaling pathways.

Ion Channel-Linked Receptors[edit | edit source]

Ion channel-linked receptors, also known as ligand-gated ion channels, open an ion channel upon binding of a ligand. This allows ions to flow across the cell membrane, changing the cell's electrical potential and triggering a cellular response.

Clinical Significance[edit | edit source]

Cell surface receptors are targets for many drugs, as they can be manipulated to alter cell signaling and treat various diseases. For example, GPCRs are the target of approximately 40% of all modern medicinal drugs. Additionally, mutations in receptor genes can lead to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD