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C18H37O2N A moiety of sphingomyelin, cerebrosides, and certain other phosphatides.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an unsaturated higher aliphatic amino alcohol, C13H27CH=CHCH(OH)CH(NH2)CH2OH. Sphingosine is soluble in organic solvents and insoluble in water; its melting point is 81.5°–83°C, and its properties are those of a base. Sphingosine occurs in nature as a constituent of sphingolipids. Its biosynthesis in cells is effected from the amino acid serine and palmitic acid with the participation of coenzyme A. Sphingosine exhibits an anticoagulant effect since it inhibits the conversion of prothrom-bin to thrombin. The more than 60 analogues of sphingosine— sphingosine bases—are distinguished by the length of the aliphatic chain, the degree of nonsaturation, the type of branching, and the location of the double bond.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.