BCH210H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Membrane Lipids, Signal Transduction, Sphingolipid

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BCH210 Lecture 12 Biological Lipids
- Lipids are a class of molecules which:
o Provide structural support for cells and organelles
o Provide storage of carbons for energy
o Play a role in information transduction and signaling
- Lipids are defined by their physical properties rather than their structure
o There are two types of properties:
Low solubility in water
High solubility in non-polar solvents
o The physical properties arise from the presence of different chemical structures
and functional groups
Hydrophobic (only non-polar)
Amphipathic (polar and nonpolar)
Most biological lipids are amphipathic
Biological lipids
- Lipids are divided into three main categories:
o Storage
E.g. triacylglycerides store fat
o Structural
Make up the bulk of the membrane
Hold membranes together
E.g. phospholipids, sphingolipids, glycolipids and sterols
o Signaling
E.g. eicosanoids and sterols
- Fatty acids are the major components of many lipids and give hydrophobicity
Fatty acids
- They are composed by a fatty acyl chain that is either saturated (no double bonds) or
unsaturated (one or more double bonds)
- Double bonds are usually numbered relative to the carboxylic acid, but they can also be
numbered relative to the terminal methyl group for omega () fatty acids
- They can be:
o Free fatty acids
o Bound to a backbone via ester bonds
Saturated fatty acid properties
- Saturated fatty acids normally want to be fully stretched out in order to keep bulky parts
of the molecule as far away from one another as possible
- This extended conformation is highly stable
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