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Chemical structure of glycolipids

Glycolipids are lipids with a carbohydrate attached. Their role is to provide energy and also serve as markers for cellular recognition. The carbohydrates are found on the outer surface of all eukaryotic cell membranes. They extend from the phospholipid bilayer into the aqueous environment outside the cell where it acts as a recognition site for specific chemicals as well as helping to maintain the stability of the membrane and attaching cells to one another to form tissues.


The carbohydrate structure of the glycolipid is controlled by the glycosyltransferases that add the carbohydrates and glycosylhydrolases that modify the glycan after addition.

Sphingolipidoses can be associated with defects in metabolism.

Types of glycolipids[edit]

The following is an incomplete listing of glycolipid types.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Role of ganglioside metabolism in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease - a review-JOURNAL OF LIPID RESEARCH Volume: 49 Issue: 6 Pages: 1157-1175 Published: JUN 2008

External links[edit]