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...

Nephrolepis exaltata
Vascular Plants: Ferns and Relatives

Ferns and their relatives are vascular plants, meaning they have xylem and phloem tissues. Because of the presence of va..

Lights' Effect on Growth
Lights’ Effect on Growth

This tutorial elaborates on the effect of light on plant growth. It describes how different plants require different amo..

Energy pyramid
Freshwater Community Energy Relationships – Producers & Consumers

This tutorial looks at the relationship between organisms. It also explores how energy is passed on in the food chain an..

Schematic diagram of bacterial lactose operon
Gene Action – Operon Hypothesis

Learn how the way genes control and determine every aspect of the body. This lesson uses lac operon as an example. ..

..

Consciousness and behavior
Consciousness and Behavior

Human consciousness and behavior are an interesting topic since they are determined and controlled by the brain. Conscio..

Geological Periods
Geological Periods

Geological periods is a study guide that cites the different geological periods on Earth's timeline. Each has a brief ov..