Steroids Sterols

Sterols are monohydroxy alcohols with a four-ring core structure or steroid nucleus (Figure 9). Cholesterol is the most abundant sterol in animal tissues. The tetracyclic structure is uniquely compact and rigid. The unesterified molecule has only one polar site, the hydroxyl on the number 3 carbon. When it is esterified to an acyl group, usually oleic acid, the cholesteryl ester is extremely hydrophobic. The free hydroxyl enables the cholesterol molecule to orient in membranes, a major function of

(A)

Figure 9 Cholesterol structural models: (A) conventional, (B) space-filling, and (C) conformational.

Figure 9 Cholesterol structural models: (A) conventional, (B) space-filling, and (C) conformational.

Psychosine

Ceramide

Psychosine

Ceramide

Cerebroside

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