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Lipids: Structure and Function

Membrane lipids are a group of compounds structurally similar to fats and oils which form the double-layered surface of all cells lipid bilayer. The three major classes of membrane lipids are phospholipids , glycolipids , and cholesterol. Lipids are amphiphilic: they have one end that is soluble in water 'polar' and an ending that is soluble in fat 'nonpolar'. By forming a double layer with the polar ends pointing outwards and the nonpolar ends pointing inwards membrane lipids can form a 'lipid bilayer' which keeps the watery interior of the cell separate from the watery exterior. The arrangements of lipids and various proteins, acting as receptors and channel pores in the membrane, control the entry and exit of other molecules and ions as part of the cell's metabolism. In order to perform physiological functions, membrane proteins are facilitated to rotate and diffuse laterally in two dimensional expanse of lipid bilayer by the presence of a shell of lipids closely attached to protein surface, called annular lipid shell.

The Biochemistry of Plants: A Comprehensive Treatise, Volume 4: Lipids: Structure and Function provides information pertinent to the fundamental aspects of plant lipid biochemistry. This book covers a variety of topics, including oxidative enzymes, glyoxylate cycle, lipoxygenases, ethylene biosynthesis, phospholipids, and carotenoids. Organized into 19 chapters, this volume begins with an overview of the different techniques for use in the analysis of plant lipids. This text then outlines the concepts of membrane lipid structure and discusses the relationship between membrane lipid structure and function. Other chapters consider the role that lipid structure plays in regulating physiological function. This book discusses as well the biochemical mechanism by which the double bond is introduced in the biosynthesis of ethylene. The final chapter deals with the results of studies on the biosynthesis of cyclopropanoid, cyclopropenoid, and cyclopentenyl fatty acids in higher plants.

The Biology of Lipids

NCBI Bookshelf. Lipids are compounds that are insoluble in water but are soluble in organic solvents such as ether and chloroform. Lipids that are important to our discussion include fats and oils triglycerides or triacyglycerols , fatty acids, phospholipids, and cholesterol. Fats and oils are esters of glycerol and three fatty acids. They are important in the diet as energy sources and as sources of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, which tend to associate with fats.

The Biology of Lipids

In biology and biochemistry , a lipid is a macro biomolecule that is soluble in nonpolar solvents. The functions of lipids include storing energy, signaling , and acting as structural components of cell membranes. Biological lipids originate entirely or in part from two distinct types of biochemical subunits or "building-blocks": ketoacyl and isoprene groups. Although the term "lipid" is sometimes used as a synonym for fats , fats are a subgroup of lipids called triglycerides.

Lipid , any of a diverse group of organic compounds including fats , oils , hormones , and certain components of membranes that are grouped together because they do not interact appreciably with water. One type of lipid, the triglycerides , is sequestered as fat in adipose cells , which serve as the energy-storage depot for organisms and also provide thermal insulation. Some lipids such as steroid hormones serve as chemical messengers between cells , tissues , and organs , and others communicate signals between biochemical systems within a single cell. The membranes of cells and organelles structures within cells are microscopically thin structures formed from two layers of phospholipid molecules.

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Membrane proteins bind lipids selectively to modulate their structure and function

2.8: Structure and Function - Lipids and Membranes

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Hundreds of different lipid species are present in eukaryotic cell membranes. Some of them aggregate with specific membrane proteins to form specialized domains that concentrate and control cellular trafficking and signaling events. For both naked and enveloped viruses, viral entry, genome replication, and egress involve specific interactions with the membranes of a susceptible host cell. Their characterization has led to the discovery of lipid-active compounds as potential antiviral drugs. High-resolution mass spectrometry streamlines the shotgun analysis of total lipid extracts.


cholesterol, lipid oxidation and antioxidants; COX activity & COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors. • The chemistry of lipids is all about how structure affects function. This.


Fatty acids

Lipids are a diverse group of molecules that all share the characteristic that at least a portion of them is hydrophobic. Other, amphipathic lipids, such as glycerophospholipids and sphingolipids spontaneously organize themselves into lipid bilayers when placed in water. Interestingly, major parts of many lipids can be derived from acetyl-CoA. Figure 2. The most ubiquitous lipids in cells are the fatty acids. Found in fats, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids and serving as as membrane anchors for proteins and other biomolecules, fatty acids are important for energy storage, membrane structure, and as precursors of most classes of lipids. Fatty acids, as can be seen from Figure 2.

If you're ready to pass your A-Level Biology exams, become a member now to get complete access to our entire library of revision materials. Not ready to purchase the revision kit yet? No problem. If you want to see what we offer before purchasing, we have a free membership with sample revision materials. Signup as a free member below and you'll be brought back to this page to try the sample materials before you buy. Lipids are composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, similar to carbohydrates, but contain less water.

The Metabolism, Structure, and Function of Plant Lipids

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