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Hexosylceramide

About the structure and biological function of HexCer

Hexosylceramides are a type of glycosphingolipids. Their structure consists of a ceramide base linked to a neutral sugar molecule. The ceramide base contains two hydrocarbon chains, the long-chain base and a fatty acid. Hexosylceramides are found mainly in eukaryotes. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in the cell membrane of animal nervous and plant photosynthetic tissue, and in the cell wall and membrane of fungi.

Many hexosylceramides serve as key precursors for the biosynthesis of dihexosylceramides and thus for more complex glycosphingolipids such as globosides and gangliosides. Yet, they are vital to cell function, for example as structural components of cell membranes and lipid rafts. Hexosylceramides are critical to structure, function, and long-term stability of myelin, as well as for axonal growth of neurons. Further, some hexosylceramides are essential for preventing trans-epidermal water loss.

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Ether-linked lyso-phosphatidylethanolamine

About the structure and biological function of LPE O-

Ether-linked lyso-phosphatidylethanolamines (LPE O-) are a type of glycerophosphoethanolamines, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a fatty acid via an ether bond and a phosphoethanolamine molecule. LPE O- lipids are found in animals and microbes. On a subcellular level, they may be enriched in the cell membrane and lipid droplets.

Little is known about the biological function of ether-linked lyso-phosphatidylethanolamines, but they are precursors to ether-linked phosphatidylethanolamines. In the pigmented layer of the human retina that nourishes retinal visual cells, LPE O- lipids are linked to the formation of bisretinoids. Bisretinoids are a family of fluorescent molecules that form in photoreceptor cells and contribute to some retinal diseases, thus LPE O- lipids are suggested to play a role in retina health.

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Ether-linked lyso-phosphatidylcholine

About the structure and biological function of LPC O-

Ether-linked lyso-phosphatidylcholines (LPC O-) are a type of glycerophosphocholines, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a fatty acid via an ether bond and a phosphocholine molecule. LPC O- lipids are found in animals and microbes. On a subcellular level, they may be enriched in the cell membrane and lipid droplets.

Little is known about the biological function of ether-linked lyso-phosphatidylcholines. They are precursors to ether-linked phosphatidylcholines and to platelet activating factor, which is important to inflammatory reactions but also structure and function of the central nervous system. Elevated levels of LPC O- lipids have been found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Further, lyso-PAF is the trivial name for LPC O- lipids.

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Ether-linked phosphatidylethanolamine

About the structure and biological function of PE O-

Ether-linked phosphatidylethanolamine (PE O-) are a type of glycerophosphoethanolamines, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to two fatty acids and a phosphoethanolamine molecule. One of the fatty acids is bound to the glycerol backbone via an ether bond. PE O- lipids are found in animals and microbes. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in the cell membrane and lipid droplets.

Ether-linked phosphatidylethanolamines contain high amounts of arachidonic acid required for the biosynthesis of eicosanoids, bioactive lipids with a great role in inflammation. Levels of PE O- lipids are reduced in the blood of the chronic inflammatory condition multiple sclerosis. That said, elevated levels have been found in cancers, especially in aggressive forms. Further, PE O- lipids are important membrane constituents of neutrophils, the most abundant type of white blood cells in humans.

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Ether-linked phosphatidylcholine

About the structure and biological function of PC O-

Ether-linked phosphatidylcholines (PC O-) are a type of glycerophosphocholines, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to two fatty acids and a phosphocholine molecule. One of the fatty acids is bound to the glycerol backbone via an ether bond. PC O- lipids are found in animals and microbes. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in the cell membrane and lipid droplets.

Ether-linked phosphatidylcholines contain high amounts of arachidonic acid required for the biosynthesis of eicosanoids, bioactive lipids with a great role in inflammation. Levels of PC O- lipids are reduced in the blood of the chronic inflammatory condition multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, elevated levels have been found in cancers, especially in aggressive forms. Further, they are precursors to platelet activating factor.

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Cardiolipin

About the structure and biological function of CL

Cardiolipins are a type of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of two diacylglycerophosphates linked to each other via a third glycerol backbone. In total, cardiolipins contain four fatty acids. They can be of variable length, hydroxylated, and contain double bonds. Cardiolipins are found in all organisms. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in mitochondria and in peroxisomes of eukaryotes, and in cell membranes of prokaryotes.

Cardiolipins are tied to the synthesis of ATP, cellular energy. They are a vital component of cellular membranes whose function is to generate an electrochemical potential, such as mitochondria membranes. There, they interact with many membrane proteins regulating and controlling their functions. They are also involved in apoptosis and mitophagy, programmed cell death and mitochondrial degradation. Further, cardiolipin aberrations are linked to Barth syndrome, cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s.

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Lyso-phosphatidylserine

About the structure and biological function of LPS

Lyso-phosphatidylserines (LPS) are a type of glycerophosphoserines, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a fatty acid and a phosphoserine molecule. The fatty acid can be of variable length, hydroxylated, and contain double bonds. LPS lipids are found in all organisms. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in the cell membrane.

Lyso-phosphatidylserines are mediators in many biological processes, especially those of the immune system of animals. LPS levels are elevated by various inflammatory stimuli and after injury, where it can transmit the information to other cells, thus contributing to the resolution of inflammation. Yet, certain LPS lipids have pro-inflammatory reactions. Further, LPS metabolism aberrations are linked to cancers, night blindness, and PHARC, a genetic neurological disorder.

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Lyso-phosphatidylinositol

About the structure and biological function of LPI

Lyso-phosphatidylinositols (LPI) are a type of glycerophosphoinositols, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a fatty acid and a phosphoinositol molecule. The fatty acid can be of variable length, hydroxylated, and contain double bonds. LPI lipids are mainly found in eukaryotic cells. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in biological membranes.

Lyso-phosphatidylinositols are intermediates in the remodeling of phosphatidylinositols, such as the release of arachidonic acid for eicosanoid biosynthesis. Yet, LPI lipids posses signaling functions on their own. They stimulate insulin release from the pancreas and interact with receptors. LPI levels are elevated in highly proliferative cancer cells and serve as biomarkers for poor prognosis in cancer patients. Further, LPIs are linked to a number of metabolic diseases such as obesity.

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Lyso-phosphatidylglycerol

About the structure and biological function of LPG

Lyso-phosphatidylglycerols (LPG) are a type of glycerophosphoglycerols, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a fatty acid and a phosphoglycerol molecule. The fatty acid can be of variable length, hydroxylated, and contain double bonds. LPG lipids are found in all organisms. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in the cell membrane.

Little is known about the function of lyso-phosphatidylglycerols in animals. Elevated LPG levels have been detected in acute coronary syndrome and they may be linked to cardiovascular diseases. In bacteria, LPGs are the lipid backbone elements of lipopolysaccharides, structural components of the bacterial capsule which are important virulence factors for many pathogens. Further, LPG lipids serve as precursors for phosphatidylglycerols.

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Lyso-phosphatidylethanolamine

About the structure and biological function of LPE

Lyso-phosphatidylethanolamines (LPE) are a type of glycerophosphoethanolamines, a class of glycerophospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a fatty acid and a phosphoethanolamine molecule. The fatty acid can be of variable length, hydroxylated, and contain double bonds. LPE lipids are found in all organisms. On a subcellular level, they are enriched in animal blood plasma and in biological membranes of plants and bacteria.

Lyso-phosphatidylethanolamines are involved in cellular processes such as differentiation and migration of certain neuronal cells, but also of various cancer cells. In plants, LPEs function as inhibitors for a key enzyme in membrane lipid degradation, thus retarding senescence of leaves, flowers, and fruits. They are used commercially to stimulate ripening and extend shelf-life of fruit, and increase vase life of cut flowers. Further, LPE lipids serve as precursors for phosphatidylethanolamines.

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