What is the role of glycolipids in cells?

1 Answer
Mar 6, 2018

Glycolipids play an important role in several biological functions such as recognition and cell signalling events.


Glycolipids are lipids with a carbohydrate attached by a glycosidic bond or covalently bonded. They are found on the outer surface of cellular membranes where it plays a structural role to maintain membrane stability, and also facilitate cell-cell communication acting as receptors , anchors for proteins.

Glycolipids and glycoproteins form hydrogen bombs bonds with the water molecules surrounding the cells and thus help to stabilise membrane structure. However, more importantly, they are used as receptor molecules binding with hormones or neurotransmitters to trigger a series of chemical reactions within the cell itself.

They can also serve as antibodies, which are used in allowing cells to recognise each other. Blood types are an example of how glycolipids on cellmembranes mediate cell interactions with the surrounding environment.