Simple Lipids - Sterols, Lipoproteins,
and Other Miscellaneous Lipids

Scottish thistleHere, we describe the chemical and biological properties of individual simple lipid classes, defined as those yielding no more than two classes of product on hydrolysis. For example, glycerolipids such as the triacylglycerols are the most important lipids of commerce as well as being essential for the well-being of organisms. Other simple lipids include the sterols, which are key membrane constituents as well as precursors of certain vitamins and hormones, and the tocopherols (vitamin E), which are complex isoprenoids and function as antioxidants. Coenzyme A esters are essential for the biosynthesis of most lipids.

For practical convenience, we list web pages dealing with lipoproteins and proteolipids here together with several lipid classes that do not fit naturally into any of the other major categories, including lipid A, microbial surfactants, and various sulfolipids.

button Simple Glycerolipids
Triacylglycerols 1.  Structure and composition
2.  Biosynthesis and metabolism
3.  Regio- and stereospecific analysis
button Sterols and other isoprenoid lipids
Sterols 1.  Cholesterol and cholesterol esters - and other animal sterols
2.  Oxysterols and other cholesterol derivatives - sulfates, glycosides, hormones, etc.
3.  Plant sterols + sterol esters, sterol glycosides & ergosterol
4.  Hopanoids + related compounds
5.  Bile acids and alcohols
Isoprenoids 1.  Tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E)
2.  Retinoids (vitamin A)
3.  Other membrane-associated isoprenoids - dolichols v quinones
button Lipoproteins and proteolipids
Plasma lipoproteins - from chylomicrons to HDL
Proteolipids and protein lipidation - myristoylated, pamitoylated, prenyl, cholesterol-linked, bacterial
Microbial proteolipids and lipopeptides
button Miscellaneous simple and complex lipids
Unesterified (free) fatty acids
Coenzyme A, acyl carrier protein, and functionally related molecules
Carnitine, acylcarnitines and β-oxidation of fatty acids
Endocannabinoids - anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol and related lipids
Simple N-acylamides and lipoamino acids
Cyanolipids, alkyl cyanides and isonitriles
Rhamnolipids, sophorolipids and other simple glycolipids
Lipid A and bacterial lipopolysaccharides
Miscellaneous lipid sulfates and sulfonates

The web pages dealing with ether lipids and arsenolipids are also relevant here.

These essays are aimed at generalists or those who are new to the subject, especially young scientists - not experts in particular disciplines, but the reading lists at the end of each web page should assist those who require a more specialized knowledge and facilitate access to the primary literature. In addition, the Literature Survey pages contain comprehensive lists of those publications consulted during the writing of this section of the site. These web pages are updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Lipid listings © Author: William W. Christie LipidWeb icon
Contact/credits/disclaimer Updated: February 1st, 2023