Lipidomics is the large-scale study of pathways and networks of cellular lipids in biological systems. Basically, a lipidome is the comprehensive and quantitative description of a set of lipid species present in an organism.
Lipidomics itself is a subgroup within the field of metabolomics. Furthermore, lipidomics can be subdivided into:
1. Membrane-lipidomics: Includes the comprehensive and quantitative description of membrane lipid constituents.
2. Mediator-lipidomics: Includes the structural characterization and quantification of low abundant bioactive lipid species.
Lipids are hydrophobic or amphipathic small molecules which include fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides and phospholipids. The crucial role of lipids in a cell, tissue and organ physiology is evident by their unique membrane organizing properties that provide cells with functionally distinct subcellular membrane compartments.
The main biological functions of lipids include:
1. Energy storage and structural components of cellular membranes.
2. Cell signaling (e.g. phospholipase C and phospholipase A2 in modulating immunological responses).
3. Endocrine actions (e.g. steroid hormones)
4. Essential role in signal transduction, membrane trafficking and morphogenesis.
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