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Chemical diversity of lipids

Guschina, Irina A. and Harwood, John L. 2021. Chemical diversity of lipids. Encyclopedia of Biophysics, Springer, (10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_526-1)
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Abstract

Lipids represent some of the most complex biological molecules, and their diversity is crucial for their cellular functions. The wide range of chemical and physical properties of different lipids determines a variety of roles for these compounds in biological processes. According to their structures, lipids can be divided into two main groups: the nonpolar lipids (acylglycerols, sterols, nonesterified (free) fatty acids, hydrocarbons, alcohols, wax, and steryl esters) and polar lipids (phosphoglycerides, glycosyl glycerides, and sphingolipids). Triacylglycerols act as energy stores and metabolic fuels. Polar lipids and sterols are important structural components of cell membranes where they may have many diverse functions. Arranged as bilayers, they establish permeability barriers for cells and organelles and provide a microenvironment for membrane-associated proteins as well as directly participating in metabolism and a multitude of membrane fusion events (Gurr et al. 2016). Waxes as surface coverings are integral to water balance and also protect organisms from noxious environmental conditions. In addition to a structural role, lipids serve as important intermediates in cell signaling pathways (e.g., sphingolipids, inositol lipids, phosphatidic acid, lysophospholipids, oxidative products) and play a role in mediating cellular responses to the environment (Gunstone et al. 2007). In this entry, we will summarize our knowledge on structural diversity of lipids providing information on the various lipid classes and also fatty acids and lipid mediators that occur naturally.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783642359439
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 July 2022
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2022 10:28
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/148276

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