Functional and physiological aspects of transmembrane proteins are subjects of interest.
A growing number of cell membrane-anchored receptors, adhesion molecules and ligands are released by regulated proteolytical cleavage. This process is termed "protein ectodomain shedding" and is mediated by membrane-associated metalloproteinases. In the case of the Notch pathway protein ectodomain shedding initiates signaling. Research is focused on functional regulation of protein ectodomain shedding.
Because shedding processes are involved in a variety of physiological and pathophysiological situations, the shedding of cell surface proteins involved in such processes is another field of attention.