Saturday, October 15, 2022

Glycolipids: Part of family glycoconjugates

Glycolipids were discovered and named by Ernst Klenk after their isolation from brain tissue in 1942.

Glycolipids are glycosyl derivatives of lipids. They are collectively a part of a larger family of substances known as glycoconjugates. These are molecules in the cell surface that chains of carbohydrates bind to. In addition to glycolipids, other major types of glycoconjugates includes glycoproteins, glycopeptides, peptidoglycans, proteoglycans and lipopolysaccharides.

The term glycolipids, in general, encompasses a wide diversity of structurally heterogeneous biological compounds that are produced by microbes, plants, animals and humans. The lipid potion of glycolipids is ceramide, which consist of fatty acids of varying lengths that bind to a long chain of aliphatic amino alcohol called sphingosine.

The IUPAC uses the term GLs to broadly designate any compound containing one or more monosaccharide residues bound by glycosidic linkage to a hydrophobic moiety.

Glycolipids are classified as follows:
* Glycoglycerolipids
The term glycoglycerolipid is used to designate glycolipids containing one or more glycerol residues.
* Glycosphingolipids
The term glycosphingolipid designates lipids containing at least one monosaccharide residue and either a sphingoid or a ceramide. 

The glycosphingolipids can be subdivided as follows:
1.Neutral glycosphingolipids,
2.Acidic glycosphingolipids

Most of the glycolipids are distributed in membranous structures in the cell. Two-thirds of the total glycolipids are distributed in intracellular membranes such as golgi apparatus, endosomes, lysosomes, nuclear membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria.
Glycolipids: Part of family glycoconjugates

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