Membrane Lipid Metabolism

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    It's safe to say that without a lipid bilayer, a cell is not a cell. In this lecture, I will cover the metabolism of the primary molecules involved in making up the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane. This will include a discussion of the glycerophospholipids and also the synthesis of the sphingolipids. Now the glycerophospholipids are, as I said, one of the major components of the cell membrane. You can see how they come about or how their name comes about by virtue of the fact that in the middle, as you see here, they have a glycerol backbone. On the right side, they have a phospho component containing phosphate that is very polar. And on the left they contain the lipid part of the glycerophospholipids which are two fatty acids attached to the glycero. Now this compound is very amphiphilic meaning that it has a portion of it that is very polar and another portion of it that's non-polar. Now this schematic structure of a glycerophospholipid that I show on the screen here I would carry forward into the next slide. Please note the "X" at the lower right; because, this is the point of attachment for other molecules to make the finish glycerophospholipid. Now you can see on the right, that schematic structure, and you can see the X in the box that I have indicated here. If the X is a hydrogen then the molecule that we are talking about is phosphatidic acid. Now phosphatidic acid is not a significant component of the lipid bilayer. But it actually is a precursor for the synthesis of the other molecules below. If X is a serine, as you can see here then the compound that results is phosphatidylserine, serine of course is an amino acid. If the X...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Membrane Lipid Metabolism by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Lipid Metabolism. It contains the following chapters:

    • Synthesis of Glycerophospholipids
    • Synthesis of Sphingolipids

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...mostly proceeds through phosphatidic acid.
    2. ...begins with palmitic acid and serine.
    3. ...creates molecules with three fatty acids.
    4. ...starts with addition of a fatty acid to glycerol.
    1. ...phosphatidyl compounds differ in what is attached to the phosphate.
    2. ...an activated intermediate involving GDP is involved.
    3. ...the phosphatidyl part of the name refers to the diacylglycerol.
    4. ...a phosphate must be removed to form the final product.
    1. ...by adding a fatty acid to dihydrosphinganine.
    2. ...by adding a complex carbohydrate to dihydrosphinganine.
    3. ...by adding a sugar to dihydrosphinganine.
    4. ...by adding a phosphate to dihydrosphinganine.

    Author of lecture Membrane Lipid Metabolism

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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