The definitions used in this glossary of terminology either have been provided by the authors of the articles, or have been extracted wholly or in part, or paraphrased from the following sources: The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine, Charles B. Clayman, MD, Medical Editor, Random House, New York, 1989; Biotechnology from A to Z, 2d Edition, William Bains, Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 2002; A Dictionary of Genetics, 6th Edition, Robert C. King and William D. Stansfield, Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 2002; Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 29th and 30th Editions, W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 2000, 2003; Genes VII, Benjamin Lewin, Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 2000; The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders, Volumes I and II, Stacey L. Blachford, Ed., Thomson Learning, New York, New York, 2002; The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, Massachusetts, 1997; Molecular Biology of the Cell, 3rd Edition, Bruce Alberts, et al., Garland Publishing, 1994; The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged Edition, 1966; Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1991.


Any of a group of complex organic compounds which contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually sulfur, the characteristic element being nitrogen, and which are widely distributed in plants and animals. Proteins, the principal constituents of the protoplasm of all cells, are of high molecular weight and consist essentially of combinations of a-amino acids in peptide linkages. Twenty different amino acids are commonly found in proteins, and each protein has a unique, genetically defined amino acid sequence which determines its specific shape and function. They serve as enzymes, structural elements, hormones, immunoglobulins, etc., and are involved in oxygen transport, muscle contraction, electron transport, and other activities throughout the body, and in photosynthesis.

binding protein - any of a number of plasma proteins (See below) that bind to hormones of low solubility (chiefly the thyroid and steroid hormones), thus providing a transport system for them; some are specific for particular hormones, while others bind to any sparingly soluble hormones. Called also carrier protein or transport protein (See below).

carrier proteins - A binding protein (See above).

plasma proteins - The hundreds of different proteins present in blood plasma, including carrier proteins (such as albumin, transferrin, and haptoglobin), fibrinogen and other coagulation factors, complement components, immunoglobulins, enzyme inhibitors, precursors of substances such as angiotensin and bradykinin, and many other types of proteins.

transport protein - binding protein (See above).

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