Steroids are lipids that function as signaling molecules

The hydrogenation of vegetable oils to produce semisolid products has had unintended consequences. Although the hydrogenation imparts desirable features such as spreadability, texture, "mouth feel," and increased shelf life to naturally liquid vegetable oils, it introduces some serious health problems. These occur when the cis-double bonds in the fatty acid chains are not completely saturated in the hydrogenation process. The catalysts used to effect the addition of hydrogen isomerize the remaining double bonds to their trans configuration. These unnatural trans-fats appear to to be associated with increased heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, as well as immune response and reproductive problems.

Other structural, amphipathic lipids include glycolipids with polar residues consisting of one or more carbohydrates and hydrophobic regions containing both hydrocarbon and fatty acid residues, and cholesterol, a complex cyclical hydrocarbon with a very small polar residue. Cholesterol is also the parent compound of a group of very important hormones called steroids (including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and androgen) and of bile salts that facilitate the digestion of dietary fats.

Ask students what materials their bodies are made out of (Proteins: Hair, fingernails, muscles, tendons, cartilage, enzymes, antibodies, hemoglobin, hormones, etc.), fats (cell membranes, insulating layer around nerve cells, steroids, etc.) and carbohydrates (energy source = blood sugar, stored as glycogen in liver and muscles etc.). Discuss where we get the materials from to build this structures and molecules inside of our bodies (through our food!). Have students brainstorm sources of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in their diet. Tell students that they will test various food items for the presence of these three macromolecules.

Prenol lipids are synthesized from the five-carbon-unit precursors isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate that are produced mainly via the mevalonic acid (MVA) pathway. [49] The simple isoprenoids (linear alcohols, diphosphates, etc.) are formed by the successive addition of C5 units, and are classified according to number of these terpene units. Structures containing greater than 40 carbons are known as polyterpenes. Carotenoids are important simple isoprenoids that function as antioxidants and as precursors of vitamin A . [50] Another biologically important class of molecules is exemplified by the quinones and hydroquinones , which contain an isoprenoid tail attached to a quinonoid core of non-isoprenoid origin. [51] Vitamin E and vitamin K , as well as the ubiquinones , are examples of this class. Prokaryotes synthesize polyprenols (called bactoprenols ) in which the terminal isoprenoid unit attached to oxygen remains unsaturated, whereas in animal polyprenols ( dolichols ) the terminal isoprenoid is reduced. [52]

Steroids are lipids that function as signaling molecules

steroids are lipids that function as signaling molecules

Prenol lipids are synthesized from the five-carbon-unit precursors isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate that are produced mainly via the mevalonic acid (MVA) pathway. [49] The simple isoprenoids (linear alcohols, diphosphates, etc.) are formed by the successive addition of C5 units, and are classified according to number of these terpene units. Structures containing greater than 40 carbons are known as polyterpenes. Carotenoids are important simple isoprenoids that function as antioxidants and as precursors of vitamin A . [50] Another biologically important class of molecules is exemplified by the quinones and hydroquinones , which contain an isoprenoid tail attached to a quinonoid core of non-isoprenoid origin. [51] Vitamin E and vitamin K , as well as the ubiquinones , are examples of this class. Prokaryotes synthesize polyprenols (called bactoprenols ) in which the terminal isoprenoid unit attached to oxygen remains unsaturated, whereas in animal polyprenols ( dolichols ) the terminal isoprenoid is reduced. [52]

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