Related topics: cells · cell membrane · protein · diabetes · heart disease

How cells 'eat' their own fluid components

Autophagy is a fundamental cellular process by which cells capture and degrade their own dysfunctional or superfluous components for degradation and recycling. Recent research has revealed that phase separated droplets have ...

Phytoplankton disturbed by nanoparticles

Products derived from nanotechnology are efficient and highly sought-after, yet their effects on the environment are still poorly understood. A research team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), working in collaboration ...

Super-resolution 'street view' microscopy hits the SPOT

The ability to "see" the inner workings of structures (organelles) within cells, in real time, offers the promise of advancements in disease diagnosis and treatment. Organelle dynamics drive the self-efficient micro-world ...

Revealing the identity of the last unknown protein of autophagy

Dr. Nobuo Noda and Dr. Kazuaki Matoba at the Institute of Microbial Chemistry discovered that Atg9, one of the proteins that function to mediate autophagy, has phospholipid-translocation activity (the lipid scramblase activity) ...

Fats fighting back against bacteria

Droplets of fat inside our cells are helping the body's own defence system fight back against infection, University of Queensland researchers have discovered.

Boost to develop microalgae into health foods

Dietary supplementation of fatty acids produced from microalgae have wide-reaching health benefits for humans, including the ability to reduce obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease, preventing hair loss, and assisting ...

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Lipid

Lipids are a broad group of naturally-occurring molecules which includes fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, phospholipids, and others. The main biological functions of lipids include energy storage, as structural components of cell membranes, and as important signaling molecules.

Lipids may be broadly defined as hydrophobic or amphiphilic small molecules; the amphiphilic nature of some lipids allows them to form structures such as vesicles, liposomes, or membranes in an aqueous environment. Biological lipids originate entirely or in part from two distinct types of biochemical subunits or "building blocks": ketoacyl and isoprene groups. Using this approach, lipids may be divided into eight categories: fatty acyls, glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, saccharolipids and polyketides (derived from condensation of ketoacyl subunits); and sterol lipids and prenol lipids (derived from condensation of isoprene subunits).

Although the term lipid is sometimes used as a synonym for fats, fats are a subgroup of lipids called triglycerides. Lipids also encompass molecules such as fatty acids and their derivatives (including tri-, di-, and monoglycerides and phospholipids), as well as other sterol-containing metabolites such as cholesterol. Although humans and other mammals use various biosynthetic pathways to both break down and synthesize lipids, some essential lipids cannot be made this way and must be obtained from the diet.

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