Phospholipid

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Phospholipids are lipid molecules which have a [[Phosphate|phosphate]] group attached.  
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Phospholipids are [[Lipid|lipid]] molecules which have a [[Phosphate|phosphate]] group attached.  
  
 
They are highly abundant in [[Cell membranes|cell membranes]], where they form a [[Lipid bi-layer|lipid bilayer]], due to the [[Amphiphatic|amphiphatic]] nature of&nbsp;their [[Hydrophilic|hydrophilic]] heads and&nbsp;[[Hydrophobic|hydrophobic]]&nbsp;tails&nbsp;<ref>Alberts et al. (2002) Molecular Biology Of The Cell, 4th edition, New York: Garland Science. p62</ref>.&nbsp;The majority of atoms in the [[Hydrophobic|hydrophobic]] tails are nonpolar and have no&nbsp;charge, this is what makes them insoluble when dissolved in [[Water|water]]. However, the hydrophilic heads are soluble in water due to the presence of either charged groups which are electrostatically attracted to the [[Water|water]] [[Molecule|molecules]],&nbsp;or polar groups which&nbsp;enable [[Hydrogen bonds|hydrogen bonds]] to be&nbsp;form between the heads and the [[Water|water]] [[Molecule|molecules]]&nbsp;<ref>Alberts et al. (2008) Molecular Biology Of The Cell, 5th edition, New York: Garland Science. p620</ref>.<br>  
 
They are highly abundant in [[Cell membranes|cell membranes]], where they form a [[Lipid bi-layer|lipid bilayer]], due to the [[Amphiphatic|amphiphatic]] nature of&nbsp;their [[Hydrophilic|hydrophilic]] heads and&nbsp;[[Hydrophobic|hydrophobic]]&nbsp;tails&nbsp;<ref>Alberts et al. (2002) Molecular Biology Of The Cell, 4th edition, New York: Garland Science. p62</ref>.&nbsp;The majority of atoms in the [[Hydrophobic|hydrophobic]] tails are nonpolar and have no&nbsp;charge, this is what makes them insoluble when dissolved in [[Water|water]]. However, the hydrophilic heads are soluble in water due to the presence of either charged groups which are electrostatically attracted to the [[Water|water]] [[Molecule|molecules]],&nbsp;or polar groups which&nbsp;enable [[Hydrogen bonds|hydrogen bonds]] to be&nbsp;form between the heads and the [[Water|water]] [[Molecule|molecules]]&nbsp;<ref>Alberts et al. (2008) Molecular Biology Of The Cell, 5th edition, New York: Garland Science. p620</ref>.<br>  

Revision as of 20:18, 18 November 2010

Phospholipids are lipid molecules which have a phosphate group attached.

They are highly abundant in cell membranes, where they form a lipid bilayer, due to the amphiphatic nature of their hydrophilic heads and hydrophobic tails [1]. The majority of atoms in the hydrophobic tails are nonpolar and have no charge, this is what makes them insoluble when dissolved in water. However, the hydrophilic heads are soluble in water due to the presence of either charged groups which are electrostatically attracted to the water molecules, or polar groups which enable hydrogen bonds to be form between the heads and the water molecules [2].

References

  1. Alberts et al. (2002) Molecular Biology Of The Cell, 4th edition, New York: Garland Science. p62
  2. Alberts et al. (2008) Molecular Biology Of The Cell, 5th edition, New York: Garland Science. p620
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