Cell-surface receptors, also known as transmembrane receptors, are cell surface, membrane-anchored (integral) proteins that bind to external ligand molecules. This type of receptor spans the plasma membrane and performs signal transduction, converting an extracellular signal into an intracellular signal. Ligands that interact with cell-surface receptors do not have to enter the cell that they affect. Cell-surface receptors are also called cell-specific proteins or markers because they are specific to individual cell types.
Each cell-surface receptor has three main components: an external ligand-binding domain called the extracellular domain, a hydrophobic membrane-spanning region called a transmembrane domain, and an intracellular domain inside the cell. The size and extent of each of these domains vary widely, depending on the type of receptor. Cell-surface receptors are involved in most of the signaling in multicellular organisms. There are three general categories of cell-surface receptors: ion channel-linked receptors, G-protein-linked receptors, and enzyme-linked receptors.
Because cell-surface receptor proteins are fundamental to normal cell functioning, it should be no surprise that a malfunction in any of these proteins could have severe consequences. Errors in the protein structures of certain receptor molecules have been shown to play a role in hypertension (high blood pressure), asthma, heart disease, and cancer.
This text is adapted from Openstax, Biology 2e, Chapter 9 Cell communication, Section 9.1: Signaling molecules and cellular receptors.
Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved