The Other Proteins

Protein is more than chicken breast.

By Daniel Rocha LMT CPT


The side of how the body heals and grows that you don’t hear about. 

Protein trafficking is the transport and movement of proteins within and outside the cell. We call this extracellular environment. The Golgi body is the vehicle for this movement. It is responsible for the sorting and trafficking proteins produced within a cell. Proteins are translated at the rough endoplasmic reticulum and then sent to the Golgi. Now they are ready for delivery and packaged into vesicles for distribution.

The trans-Golgi network (TGN), a tubulovesicular extension, resembles an accordion. It serves as the site for sorting exocytic proteins into vesicles. It is made up of three parts, cis, medial and trans. Vesicles fuse and form the cus cisterna. They are modified by Golgi enzymes, providing information about where this protein is headed. It then becomes the trans cisterna through the cos maturation model. Proteins are sorted and targeted for their destination. Vesicles break off and head toward their target location. 

Protein trafficking delivers proteins from their sites of synthesis to where they are needed. Protein sorting requires a series of signaling molecules and complex components.

Protein sorting is the biological process of how proteins are transported to their appropriate destinations in or outside the cell. Proteins can be targeted inside organelles, intracellular membranes, plasma membranes, or outside the cell via secretion. The delivery process is based on information contained in the protein itself. Correct sorting is important for the cell, any errors can lead to diseases. 

Naprapaths, manual therapists, and trainers need to understand this as they educate a patient on how the body heals and repairs. Although bodywork cannot cause disease, prolonged impingements, ROM for joints, or chronic pain in an area can cause physiological issues that will lead to significant concerns. This is because the body is utilizing bad information within these protein translations. So it is essential to eat healthily, get enough rest, reduce stress, exercise, and keep your body aligned as much as possible. 



Glycoproteins are mostly understood through immunity. They are molecules containing both protein and carbohydrate chains which are utilized in many physiological functions and can serve important therapeutic and preventative targets. 

It is viruses though that use glycoproteins to enter the body’s cells. During maturation, the host cell of the virus will contain host glycoproteins, allowing them to avoid the immunity of the host. It is the glycoproteins that are important when analyzing viruses and developing vaccines for them.

Glycoproteins are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. The carbohydrate portion attaches to the protein where the ribosome of the mRNA codes the protein. It then will attach to the endoplasmic reticulum.  These glycoproteins are attached to the shared electrons of sugar residues. The sugars hydrophilic and polar characteristics change the chemical characteristics of the protein. It is this example where sugars get a bad reputation for inflammation, and where diseases begin. 


Plasma Proteins 

Plasma proteins can fit through the lymphatic valves and into the lymphatic capillary. Without reabsorption of these plasma proteins, we would die. This is due to the high molecular weight of proteins which makes them unable to be reabsorbed by venous capillaries. In the digestion system, the lymphatic capillaries in the gastrointestinal tract are where fats are absorbed. Fats enter the lymphatics before entering the bloodstream.

The three types of plasma protein albumin, globulins, and fibrinogen. These proteins control oncotic pressure, transport substances such as hemoglobin, lipids, calcium, and promote inflammation and the complement cascade. The complement cascade is a part of the immune system that enhances the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells, promote inflammation, and attack the pathogen's cell membrane.

The plasma proteins albumin and globulin help maintain colloidal osmotic pressure, as where the electrolytes: sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, and calcium maintain blood pH. Plasma delivers water, salts, and enzymes as well as provides nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need it. Waste products from cells are also carried by plasma.

Plasma protein tests determine the concentration of specific protein or proteins. An abnormal level of a total or specific protein can indicate disease and establish a diagnosis. They can also determine a condition such as dehydration or inflammation.



Immunoglobulins, or our antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by white blood cells. They recognize and bind to antigens, such as bacteria or viruses, and destroy them.

There are five primary classes of immunoglobulins and are distinguished by the type of heavy chain found in the molecule. Some molecules have heavy chains known as gamma-chains, while others have epsilon-chains or delta-chains. Immunoglobulins help fight infection and various other small amounts of enzymes, hormones, and vitamins.

Immunoelectrophoresis is an analytical technique that uses high resolving power. It combines the separation of antigens by electrophoresis with immunodiffusion against an antiserum. Immunoelectrophoresis determines the blood levels of three major immunoglobulins: immunoglobulin M (IgM), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin A (IgA). The results aid in the diagnosis of the disease affecting the immune system. An example is the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a disease affecting the bone marrow.


This is how to use all this information

When treating a patient for pain, training a client or doing a nutrition outline, it is important to know what’s going on with a patient's bloodwork. Too often people think or feel healthy but a simple full chemistry panel with CBC can identify many concerns that can be addressed nutritionally. Although any abnormal results should be consulted with the patients physician. Higher-than-normal protein levels are can mean bone marrow disorders, infections, inflammation. 

It should also be recognized that high levels of immunoglobulin can signify autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. High level of immunoglobulins can also present long-term (chronic) infection, such as HIV. These concerns should be addressed with the patient and advised to see their primary care physician for a specialist referral. 

Manual therapy aids patients relieve pain but also provides a better quality of life by improving vitaways, (blood, lymph, and nerve impulses), aligning the body, and restoring the body to homeostasis. Manual therapy is more than using trigger points on muscles and cavitation of joints; it is also about knowing that manipulating tissue will cause damage, like exercise. This damage needs to heal and recover. So it is very important that the body receives the correct nutrients, and rest it needs to undergo the functions necessary for repair. 

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McFarlane-Parrott, S. C. (2018). Lymphatic System. In J. L. Longe (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health (4th ed., Vol. 4, pp. 2124-2128). Gale.




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