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Is ligand a type of protein or vice versa?

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A ligand is any molecule that can bind to a receptor. A receptor is always a protein. A ligand can be a protein, but also something else, be it a combination of protein with carbohydrates and-or fats, or just molecules such as cyclic AMP, any chemical compound, structures expressed on the cell surface, pretty much any structure you can think of.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not only receptor, it may be any protein (as haemoglobine). The term in molecular biology has not a strict definition unlike inorganic chemistry. But it is rare when we look at proteins as ligands (usually little oligopeptides). Commonly it is named as hetero-oligomeric complexes. $\endgroup$
    – Vovin
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 12:36

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