Shorthand notation for Sphingolipids (SP)

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Rules for the annotation

  • The sphingoid backbone is annotated by the number of hydroxyl groups in the sphingoid base (m for mono, d for di, t for tri) and separated by a slash from the number of carbons:number of double bonds of the N-linked fatty acid. Positions of hydroxyl groups and double bonds including geometry are indicated as described for fatty acyls (FA).
  • If the sphingoid base is not known the sum of sphingoid base and fatty acid is shown as number of carbons:number of double bonds. Calculations are based on the number of hydroxyl groups of the major sphingoid base for that organism (dihydroxy in mammals). When the number of hydroxyl groups is known it is shown in front of the number of carbons (hydroxyl group level, e for tetra).
  • For further characterization of N-linked fatty acids, rules as described in section 3 apply. A fatty acid that is ester-bound to a N-linked ω-OH fatty acid is shown in square brackets as [ωFA C-atoms:double bonds].
  • Sugar moieties:
    • The identity of sugar is not known:
      • Hex - Hexosyl
      • Hex2 - DiHexosyl
    • The identity of the sugar is proven experimentally :
      • Gal - Galactosyl
      • Glc – Glucosyl
      • Lac - Lactosyl

Lipid class abbreviations

  • Ceramide - Cer
  • Ceramide-1-phosphate - C1P
  • Sphingoid base - SPH
  • Sphingoid base-1-phosphate - S1P
  • Sphingomyelin - SM
  • Hexosylceramide - HexCer
  • Glucosylceramide - GlcCer
  • Galactosylceramide - GalCer
  • Dihexosylceramide – Hex2Cer
  • Lactosylceramide - LacCer


$ m is the uncharged molecular mass
§ Annotation based on the assumption of a sphingoid base with two hydroxyl groups

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