Dictionary > Glycosphingolipid

Glycosphingolipid

Definition
noun, plural: glycosphingolipids
A type of glycolipid made up of a glycan (or a carbohydrate) linked to the sphingolipid
Supplement
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...

Non-Mendelian Inheritance
Non-Mendelian Inheritance

In this tutorial, find out more about certain types of inheritance that does not follow the Mendelian inheritance patter..

Wart-like leaf galls on grape leaves
Plant Cell Defense

Plants protect themselves by releasing hydrogen peroxide to fight against fungal invasion. Another way is by secreting c..

Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Unique Geographical History

Explore why New Zealand has such unique flora and fauna, and learn why long periods of geographical isolation. This less..

Protein (illustration)
Protein Variety

The sequence of amino acids determines the type of protein. Protein is synthesized according to the sequence of nucleoti..

Physical growth
Physical Development in Humans

This tutorial elaborates on the physical development of humans, particularly from puberty to adulthood. Read this tutori..

Flowers and tiny fruits of the pomegranate plant
Fruits, Flowers, and Seeds

This tutorial deals with the structure and function of flowers, fruits, and seeds. Also included here are the types of f..

Related Articles...

No related articles found

See all Related Topics