Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
complexes of proteins and lipids. Lipoproteins occur in plants and animals as constituents of all biological membranes and lamellar structures (in the myelin sheath of nerves, in the chloroplasts of plants, in the receptor cells of the retina). They occur in free form in blood plasma, from which they were first isolated in 1929.
Lipoproteins are classified according to chemical structure and lipid-protein ratio. They are subdivided into four main classes according to sedimentation rate during centrifugal separation: (1) high-density lipoproteins (52 percent protein and 48 percent lipids, primarily phospholipids), (2) low-density lipoproteins (21 percent protein and 79 percent lipids, mainly cholesterol), (3) very low-density lipoproteins (9 percent protein and 91 percent lipids, mostly triglycerides), and (4) chylomicrons (1 percent protein and 99 percent triglycerides).
It is thought that lipoprotein structure is micellar (the protein bonded to the lipid-cholesterol complex owing to hydrophobic interaction) or analogous to that of molecular compounds of proteins and lipids (the phospholipid molecules located in flexures of the polypeptide chains of protein subunits). The study of lipoproteins is complicated by the instability of lipid-protein complexes and by difficulties encountered in their isolation in natural form.
REFERENCEFinean, J. Biologicheskie ul’trastruktury. Moscow, 1970. (Translated from English.)
N. V. PROKAZOVA