Simple Lipids, Sterols, Lipoproteins and Other Miscellaneous Lipid Classes

Here, the individual simple lipid classes are described. Glycerolipids such as the triacylglycerols are the most important lipids of commerce as well as being essential for the well-being of organisms. In addition to serving as precursors for complex lipids, 1,2-sn-diacylglycerols are vital cellular messengers.

Other simple lipids include the sterols, which are key membrane constituents as well as precursors of certain vitamins and hormones. The tocopherols are complex isoprenoids, which function as antioxidants and have vitamin E activity. Simple amides like anandamide interact with the cannabinoid receptors, while oleamide is the cellular messenger that switches on sleep. Coenzyme A esters are essential for the biosynthesis of virtually all lipids. All have their own unique properties.

For practical convenience, we list pages dealing with plasma lipoproteins and proteolipids here, in addition to a number of lipid classes that do not fit into any of the other major categories, including lipid A, microbial surfactants and various sulfolipids.

Simple Glycerolipids

Sterols and Other Isoprenoid Lipids

Lipoproteins

Miscellaneous Simple and Complex Lipids

The web page dealing with ether lipids is also relevant here.

These essays are aimed at generalists - not experts in particular disciplines - but it is hoped that the reading lists at the end of each will provide for those who require a more specialized knowledge. PDF files are available for download at the end of web pages. There are shortcuts to a full list of individual lipid classes here.

Updated April 25, 2013