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Glycoproteins are any of a group of conjugated proteins having a carbohydrate as the nonprotein component.
have the following functions:
a. cellular zip codes, these carbohydrate structures determine which proteins are exported (secreted), which are incorporated into the cell membrane, and which are destined for the lysosome.
b. involved in cell-cell recognition and adhesion
c. recognition of self vs. other by the immune system
A Glycolipid is a lipid that contains one or more carbohydrate groups and their role is to provide energy and also serve as markers for cellular recognition.
These two make up the Glycocalyx which is basically the outer component of a cell surface, outside the plasmalemma; usually contains strongly acidic sugars, hence it carries a negative electric charge. This has the following functions:
Protection: Cushions the plasma membrane and protects it from chemical injury
Immunity to infection: Enables the immune system to recognize and selectively attack foreign organisms
Defense against cancer: Changes in the glycocalyx of cancerous cells enable the immune system to recognize and destroy them
Transplant compatibility: Forms the basis for compatibility of blood transfusions, tissue grafts, and organ transplants
Cell adhesion: Binds cells together so that tissues do not fall apart
Inflammation regulation: Glycocalyx coating on endothelial walls in blood vessels prevents leukocytes from rolling/binding in healthy states
Fertilization: Enables sperm to recognize and bind to eggs
Embryonic development: Guides embryonic cells to their destinations in the body