The Glycocalyx

External to the plasma membrane, all animal cells have a fuzzy coat called the glycocalyx8 (GLY-co-CAY-licks) (fig. 3.10), which consists of the carbohydrate moieties sglyco = sugar + calyx = cup, vessel sglyco = sugar + calyx = cup, vessel

Saladin Animal Cell
Figure 3.10 Microvilli and the Glycocalyx. This is the apical surface of an absorptive cell of the small intestine.

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Chapter 3 Cellular Form and Function 103

of the membrane glycolipids and glycoproteins. It is chemically unique in everyone but identical twins, and acts like an identification tag that enables the body to distinguish its own healthy cells from transplanted tissues, invading organisms, and diseased cells. Human blood types and transfusion compatibility are determined by glycoproteins. The glycocalyx includes the cell-adhesion molecules that enable cells to adhere to each other and guide the movement of cells in embryonic development. The functions of the glycocalyx are summarized in table 3.2.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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