^ FIGURE 5-5 Three classes of membrane lipids. (a) Most phosphoglycerides are derivatives of glycerol 3-phosphate (red) containing two esterified fatty acyl chains, constituting the hydrophobic "tail" and a polar "head group" esterified to the phosphate. The fatty acids can vary in length and be saturated (no double bonds) or unsaturated (one, two, or three double bonds). In phosphatidylcholine (PC), the head group is choline. Also shown are the molecules attached to the phosphate group in three other common phosphoglycerides: phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidyl-serine (PS), and phosphatidylinositol (PI). (b) Sphingolipids are derivatives of sphingosine (red), an amino alcohol with a long hydrocarbon chain. Various fatty acyl chains are connected to sphingosine by an amide bond. The sphingomyelins (SM), which contain a phosphocholine head group, are phospholipids. Other sphingolipids are glycolipids in which a single sugar residue or branched oligosaccharide is attached to the sphingosine backbone. For instance, the simple glycolipid glucosylcerebroside (GlcCer) has a glucose head group. (c) Like other membrane lipids, the steroid cholesterol is amphipathic. Its single hydroxyl group is equivalent to the polar head group in other lipids; the conjugated ring and short hydrocarbon chain form the hydrophobic tail. [See H. Sprong et al., 2001, Nature Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2:504.]

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