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Scottish thistleThese web pages describe the structures, occurrence, biochemistry and functions of the sphingolipids, including sphingoid bases, ceramides, sphingo-phospholipids such as sphingomyelin, and the glycosphingolipids from cerebrosides to gangliosides. The basic building block of a sphingolipid is a sphingoid base such as sphingosine, linked via an amide bond to a long-chain fatty acid to form a ceramide. Each sphingolipid component has important biological activities in its own right, but ceramides can also be linked via the terminal hydroxyl group to phosphate or to carbohydrate moieties to produce highly complex molecules with vital biological functions, for example as cellular messengers or as part of the immune system. In membranes, they are key component of the specialized micro-domains termed 'rafts'.

These essays are aimed at generalists, not experts in particular disciplines, but the reading lists at the end of each provide for those requiring a more specialized knowledge. In addition, the Literature Survey pages contain comprehensive lists of those publications consulted during the writing of this section of the site. As I am able to update them regularly, my web pages here are much more up-to-date and accurate, and they are far better illustrated than obsolete versions elsewhere.

Lipid listings Credits/disclaimer Updated: March 16th, 2017 Author: William W. Christie LipidWeb icon