What are the functions of membrane proteins?

1 Answer
Sep 16, 2015

A lot!


The membrane is the interface between the cell and everything around it.
If something has to enter or leave the cell (entry of food, excretion of waste, communication), it has to happen through the membrane.
If the cell has to attach to a surface, or move, this happens by membrane proteins.
Anything outside the cell is 'sensed' by receptors on the membrane and this leads to reactions in terms of intracellular signaling.

Only through such a sensing mechanism do cells 'know' what is around them, and what to do in response to an environmental change.

Many biology textbooks say that the nucleus is the brain of the cell.

Arguably, we can claim that the cell membrane is the actual brain, and the nucleus is just an information storage device which is acts in response to instructions given by the cell membrane, or rather, by the proteins on it.