Structural Intracellular Membrane Extracellular Proteinsproteinsproteinsproteins

Membrane proteins

Membrane proteins

Extracellular proteins create a matrix

Collagen fibers Fig. 4.3 The three broad types of structural proteins.

The intracellular proteins and membrane proteins will be covered in more detail in the chapter on cells (Chapter 5). Our focus, now, then, is upon the extracellular proteins.

Proteins and the extracellular matrix

We have already said that there is an extracellular fluid of saltwater surrounding most of our cells. For convenience, we will abbreviate the extracellular fluid as ECF. The ECF is not alone, however. Also abundant around our cells is an extracellular matrix. The extracellular matrix is a complex web or meshwork (matrix) of structural proteins located just ''outside of our cells.'' It is therefore appropriate for us to describe a total Extracellular Environment. This Extracellular Environment consists of both the extracellular matrix of proteins, as well as the salty extracellular fluid (ECF) that circulates between these proteins.

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