Structure. CDP-glycerols belong to the phospholipids. Their structure consists of a glycerol backbone linked to a cytidine diphosphate “head” group – a type of nucleotide which also serves as a base unit of DNA and RNA. CDP-glycerols further contain up to two ester- or ether-linked fatty acids. Similarly to glycerol esters, CDP-diglycerides contain two fatty acids and CDP-monoglycerides one fatty acid.
Function. CDP-glycerols are common to all living organisms where they occupy a branch point in the biosynthesis of both, phospholipids and glycerolipids. The specific biosynthetic route to a distinct end product depends on the subcellular location of the CDP-glycerol lipids. Thus, their availability can indirectly influence the many functions of phospholipids and glycerolipids.
CDP-diglycerides (CDP-DAG) are the most extensively investigated CDP-glycerols. They contain two ester-linked fatty acids and their biochemical conversion into other lipids has been described in great detail. But little is known about the function of CDP-monoglycerides and ether-linked CDP-glycerols, of which the latter one has only been found in archaea.