AAT Bioquest

What is the function of channel proteins?

Posted September 13, 2022


Channel proteins are an essential component of the cell membrane. Their main function involves moving substances across the cell membrane without binding to them and without expending any energy. Channel proteins are pivotal for several crucial cellular functions such as maintaining homeostasis and regulating cell signaling

There are two types of channel proteins – non-gated and gated. Each of these has a slightly different function in the cell. 

Non-gated channel proteins allow the free flow of ions and water through the cell membrane. They are usually only found in internal organs and where maintaining ion gradients isn’t essential. They are usually not found on the external cell membrane. 

Gated channel proteins are found on the external cell membrane and play a more active role in maintaining the ion gradient. They prevent ions and water from moving through the cell membrane until they receive a signal to do so. 

Additional resources

Ion channel regulation by protein palmitoylation

Intracellular Ions

Cell Signaling

Intracellular Ion Assay Kits