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3.2.2.2.2. Glycolipids

Glycolipids (or sphingoglycolipids)

They are complex lipids formed by the union of:

  • A ceramide (sphingosine attached to a fatty acid).
  • A carbohydrate.

They lack a phosphate group and do not have ester bonds either.

They are part of the lipid bilayers of the cytoplasmic membranes of all cells, especially neurons in the brain .

Glycolipids are part of the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane. The carbohydrate part of the molecule is oriented towards the outside of the plasma membrane and is a fundamental component of the glycocalyx , where it acts in cell recognition and as antigenic receptors.

Membrana plasmática
800px-Membrana_con_elementos.jpg (Imagen JPEG, 800 × 542 píxeles) - Escalado (0 %). (s. f.). Recuperado a partir de http://www.wikillerato.org/images/thumb/5/5b/Membrana_con_elementos.jpg/800px-Membrana_con_elementos.jpg

The glycolipids can be divided into two groups:

Cerebrosides

The cerebrosides are molecules in which the ceramide binds a sugar chain (link β- O-glycosidic) of glucose or galactose.

Galactoceramida

By [[User: Roadnottaken|Roadnottaken]] (transfered from enWiki) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gangliosides

The gangliosides, in turn, are molecules in which the ceramide binds to a complex oligosaccharide wherein the sialic acid always appears.

Gangliósidos

By Edgar181 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons