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globulin

globulin, any of a large family of proteins of a spherical or globular shape that are widely distributed throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Many of them have been prepared in pure crystalline form. The term globulin is a partly procedural one, used in classifying an otherwise diverse group of proteins that are soluble in water or dilute salt solutions. Among the most important are the immunoglobulins (Ig), the antibodies of the immune system (see immunity). They are classified into five types based upon structure: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM. IgG or γ-globulin is the most common and forms about 70% of the immunoglobins in the blood. Other globulins are involved in the transport of a variety of substances, including lipids, hormones, and inorganic ions.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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