Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Sphingolipids and Gangliosides

  • Thomas KolterEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_528-1


Sphingolipids contain a sphingoid base within their structure. Gangliosides are sialic acid-containing glycosphingolipids.


Sphingolipids are characteristic eukaryotic lipids which – with few exceptions – do not occur in bacteria. The name “sphingolipid” was introduced by H. E. Carter (1947) and referred to a lipid class that contains a sphingoid base. Today, sphingolipids represent one of the categories into which lipids have been divided, together with fatty acyls (Fatty Acids, Alkanols, and Diacylglycerols), glycerolipids (Glycerolipids: Chemistry), glycerophospholipids, sterol lipids, prenol lipids, saccharolipids, and polyketides. Sphingolipids themselves have been classified into several major classes: sphingoid bases, ceramides, phosphosphingolipids, phosphonosphingolipids, neutral glycosphingolipids, acidic glycosphingolipids, basic glycosphingolipids, amphoteric glycosphingolipids, arsenosphingolipids, and others (Fahy et al. 2005).



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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BonnGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • John M. Seddon
    • 1
  1. 1.Membrane Biophysics Platform, Department of Chemistry and Institute of Chemical BiologyImperial College LondonLondonUK