Sphingolipids

A group of acyl lipids has a sphingosine-based structure (Figure 8). The derivatives of sphingosine are cerebrosides and ceramides. They are characterized by having sugar molecules as part of their structure and thus are called glycosphingolipids. The most common sugar moiety is galactose. There is a large family of mono-, di-, and trigly-cosyl ceramides. Some of the glycosphingolipids have sialic (N-acetyl neurominic) acid linked to one or more of the sugar residues of a ceramide oligosaccharide. These are called mono-, di-, and trisialogangliosides and are abundant in membranes, particularly in nervous tissue. Their amphi-pathic structures are functional in membranes and in the water impermeability of skin.

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