When you combine a protein and a carbohydrate (sugar) into one molecule, you get a glycoprotein (glyco = sugar). The protein becomes part of the cell wall and the carbohydrate acts as an “exterior” antenna on the cell wall to receive and broadcast biological signals to other cells.
- • function as hormones.
- • are essential to enzymes.
- • transport vitamins and hormones throughout the body.
- • are essential to the immune system.
- • play an essential role in human egg fertilization.
- • bind other cells and collagen together for strength. For example, nerve cells recognize and connect via glycoproteins as do muscle cells.
- • are involved in the formation of cartilage.
- • are abundant in nerve tissue and gray matter.
- • are involved in blood clotting.
- • form a thick, protective gel to protect cells from chemical, physical, and bacterial attack, such as in tears, sweat, the digestive system, urinary tract and respiratory system.
- • determine a person’s blood type.