Ch3

Fig. 6.3 Comparison of the structure of the betaine lipid, DGTS with phosphatidylcholine. DGTS = 1,2-diacylglyceryl-3-0-4'("N,N,N-trimethyl)-homoserine.

2) of the glycerol backbone. In mammals, there are almost exclusively ether linkages in the choline or ethanolamine glycerolipid class. If the ether link is unsaturated (Fig. 6.4) then the lipid is termed a plasmalogen. Indeed, of the ether-linked phos-phoglycerides, ethanolamine plasmalogen is the most widespread. It is especially abundant in nervous tissues and in white blood cells and platelets. The ether lipids are not confined to mammals but are also found in lower animals, some plants and many bacteria. Particular interest has recently been paid to the biologically active platelet activating factor (PAF) (Fig. 6.4) and its derivatives (see Section 7.1.10). PAF has a similar structure to the ether derivative of phosphatidylcholine (plasmanylcho-line) except that the fatty acid at the sn-2 position is replaced by an acetyl group.

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