Lipids and Biomembranes

ID #1634

Is a glycolipid similiar to sphingomyelin? Does that mean that glycolipids don't have a glycerol backbone?

In the way you mentioned, glycolipids are similar to sphingomyelin -- none of them have glycerol as their backbone. But there is an important difference between the two as well. Sphingomyelin might be the oddball of the phospholipid category, but it's still a true phospholipid. The glycolipids, by contrast, have no phosphate group and have (usually) oligosaccharide groups attached to them. So it's important that you recognize the similarities and the differences.

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