What are Phospholipids?

Phospholipids are compound lipids, consisting of phosphoric acids, nitrogen base, alcohol and fatty acids. These compound lipids are major components of the cell membrane and also provide a fluid character to the membranes. In cell membranes, these phospholipids have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail, which forms the inside of the bilayer.

Also Read: Lipids

Types Of Phospholipid

There are two types of phospholipids

  1. Glycerophospholipids

They are the major types of phospholipids, which occur in the biological membrane. It consists of glycerol-based phospholipids.

  1. Sphingophospholipids

They are the important constituents of myelin and are abundantly found in the brain and nervous tissues. It consists of sphingosine as alcohol

Properties Of Phospholipids

  1. They are signal mediators.
  2. They are amphipathic molecules.
  3. They anchor proteins within the cell membranes.
  4. They are the major constituents of cell membranes.
  5. They are the components of bile and lipoproteins.

Read more: Cell membrane

Functions Of Phospholipids

  1. It regulates the permeability of the membrane.
  2. It is also involved in the absorption of fat from the intestine.
  3. It helps in ETC- Electron Transport Chain in the mitochondria.
  4. Phospholipids help by preventing the accumulation of fats in the liver.
  5. It plays a major role in the transportation and removal of cholesterol from the cells.
  6. It forms the structural components of the cell membrane with the association of proteins.
  7. They act as surfactants in the respiratory system and are also involved in the coagulation of blood cells.
  8. It helps in the synthesis of different lipoproteins, prostacyclins, prostaglandins and thromboxanes.

Also Refer: Electron Transport Chain

This article concludes an introduction to phospholipids, their types and structure. To know more about phospholipids, other related topics and important questions, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.

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