Dictionary > Glycosphingolipid


noun, plural: glycosphingolipids
A type of glycolipid made up of a glycan (or a carbohydrate) linked to the sphingolipid
A glycolipid is a glycoconjugate comprised of a carbohydrate and a lipid. Examples include glycosphingolipids, glyceroglycolipids, and glycophosphatidylinositol.
A glycosphingolipid is a glycolipid comprised of a carbohydrate and a sphingolipid — particularly one that has a sphingosine backbone. The sphingosine is an amino alcohol that has a chemical formula of C18H37NO2. The carbohydrate is linked to a sphingolipid by a glycosidic bond. Thus, hydrolysis of the sphingolipid yields sugar (e.g. galactose or a similar sugar), a fatty acid, and sphingosine or dihydrospingosine.
Glycosphingolipids are one of the lipid components of the cell membrane. They, therefore, help stabilize the cell membrane structure. The carbohydrate constituent of a glycosphingolipid extends or protrudes on the outside of the cell membrane. Thus, glycosphingolipids are also involved in cell to cell interactions (cell adhesion) and cell recognition.
Examples of glycosphingolipids include cerebrosides, gangliosides, globosides, glycophosphosphingolipids, and glycophosphatidylinositols. Gangliosides, in particular, are glycosphingolipids that occur in the cell membranes of neurons. Their carbohydrate component is involved in the interaction between neurons, and therefore, plays a role in cell signaling.
Word origin: Ancient Greek glukús (“sweet”) + sphingolipid
See also:

You will also like...

Young plant growing from the soil.

Nutrients in the soil are essential to the proper growth of a land plant. This tutorial deals with the properties of soi..

Human Nervous System
The Human Nervous System

The nervous system is essentially a biological information highway. This tutorial gives an overview of the nervous syste..

Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung
Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung

In this tutorial, the works of Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud are described. Both of them actively pursued the way h..

Still freshwater and plants
Still Freshwater & Plants

Plants in lentic habitats have features not found in terrestrial plants. They acquired these features as they adapt to t..

human brain structure
The Conscious & Unconscious Nervous System

This tutorial elaborates on how the nervous system works, particularly at the tissue level of the brain. There are three..

Growth Patterns
Growth Patterns

This tutorial describes the sigmoid curve, annual plant growth, tree growth, human growth, and insect growth as the grow..