Overview of Membrane Transporters
Most of molecules enter or leave cells mainly via membrane transport proteins, which play important roles in several cellular functions, including cell metabolism, ion homeostasis, signal transduction, binding with small molecules in extracellular space, the recognition process in the immune system, energy transduction, osmoregulation, and physiological and developmental processes. There are three major types of transport proteins, ATP-powered pumps, channel proteins and transporters. Transport proteins such as channels and transporters play important roles in the maintenance of intracellular homeostasis, and mutations in these transport protein genes have been identified in the pathogenesis of a number of hereditary diseases. In the central nervous system ion channels have been linked to many diseases such, but not limited to, ataxias, paralyses, epilepsies, and deafness indicative of the roles of ion channels in the initiation and coordination of movement, sensory perception, and encoding and processing of information.
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