Are Proteins charged?7 Facts you Should Know

In this article we are focusing on “Are Proteins Charged? 7 Facts You Should Know” by giving the detailed explanations and facts.

Proteins are complex macromolecules that occur naturally and composed of multiple amino acid units which are joined together by peptide bonds. Proteins are essential to all living organisms and are found as different biological substances like, Antibodies, Hormones and Enzymes.

Proteins are the main source of nutrition in a living cell and they participate in all the chemical and biological processes occurring inside the living cell. Proteins are organ specific and are named accordingly for example, muscle protein which is different from the protein found in hair, brain or liver etc.

Structure of Proteins

In this article we are focusing on “Are Proteins Charged? 7 Facts You Should Know” by giving the detailed explanations and facts.
Structures of Proteins Image from Wikipedia

Proteins are composed of multiple smaller units of amino acids which are linked to one another in long chains via peptide bonds, this appearance is sort of like “beads on a string”. There are 20 amino acids that are known to occur naturally and are classified as essential and non-essential amino acids.

Multiple proteins can have the similar function and also contains the same amino acid sequence and composition. The process of formation of proteins in living organisms is known as Translation.

Protein folding Image from Wikipedia

How are Proteins charged?

Proteins are made up of amino acids which can be positive, negative, polar or neutral in nature, these amino acids together provide the overall charge to the protein. Proteins can be separated based on their net charge using gel electrophoresis especially SDS-PAGE, where pH gradient is established to separate different proteins from a mixture of proteins.

Chromatography is another technique used to separate proteins based on their charge if a protein contains a greater number of basic amino acids, then it will be positively charged protein and if it contains more acidic amino acids then it will be a negatively charged protein.

Are all proteins charged?

Yes, all proteins are charged, either negatively or positively charged depending on the number and types of amino acids it contains. All proteins contain positive, negative and neutral regions based on the types of amino acids they possess.

The charge on a protein is solely determined by the amino acids residues that form a protein.

Are proteins uniformly charged?

Proteins are not uniformly charged naturally. They are made to be charged uniformly using certain detergents that denatures their structures and makes them uniformly negative charged, such as SDS (Sodium dodecyl sulphate). SDS is a reducing agent and it breaks the protein disulfide bonds and makes them linear.

Are proteins positively charged?

Yes, some proteins can be positively charged depending on the type of amino acid it is made of. Such proteins are called basic proteins and they have a high tendency to attract protons.

Can proteins be negatively charged?

No, proteins cannot be overall negatively charged. That is why they are linearized using certain chemicals that gives them a uniform negative charge. Proteins may contain stretches of negatively charged regions and they are called acidic stretches of amino acids.

Can amino groups be negatively charged?

Amino groups can be negatively charged, but naturally they are present as neutrally charged. They are organic molecules consisting of nitrogen bonded to a hydrogen or carbon via single bond.

Are Carrier proteins charged?

No, carrier proteins are not charged instead they facilitates the transfer of ions and other polar and no-polar molecules by facilitated diffusion process across the cell membrane. Carrier proteins upon binding to the molecule to be transported undergo a conformational change.

Carrier proteins contain binding sites which are specific to the molecules and exist in two conformations; one when binding site is empty and the other when the site is occupied by the binding partner. Carrier proteins can undergo both active and passive transport.


To conclude the article, we can say that proteins are essential components for the living cells and they are charged molecules that exist in multiple conformations with variety of functions.

Sneha Sah

Hey! I am Sneha Sah, I have completed post graduation in Biotechnology. Science has always been fascinating to me and writing is my passion. As an academic writer my aim is to make Science easy and simple to learn and read. Reach me at-

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