Nomenclature of Lipids

Supplement: Derivatives of phosphatidic acid

Continued from Appendixes A-C

From the JCBN/NC-IUB Newsletter 1980 (ref 14)

The 1976 recommendations [Compendium, pp. 122-132; see also Eur. J. Biochem. 79 (1977) 11-21(ref 15)] emphasized generic names for common lipids, names based on the stem name phosphatidic acid. In the light of recent interest in membrane lipids and of progress in both isolation and chemical synthesis of individual glycerophospholipids, it seems desirable to specify more exactly how individual compounds may be named.

According to the published recommendations (Lip-2.11), glycerophospholipids with known acyl residues are named as the acyl derivatives of glycerophosphocholine, glycerophosphoethanolamine. Thus, the following compound

is called dipalmitoylglycerophosphocholine (dihexadecanoylglycerophosphocholine). For abbreviated nomenclature, the system using three-letter symbols given in Appendix B of the published document may be used. Thus the compound may be written as: Pam2Gro-P-Cho.

Comment. This compound has sometimes been incorrectly called dipalmitoyl lecithin. But lecithin, like the recommended term phosphatidylcholine, already contains two (unspecified) acyl groups, so such a name could imply the presence of two more acyl groups. Similarly glycerophospholipids with a high content of polyene acids may be termed polyenoyIglycerophosphocholines if desired, but not polyenoylphosphatidylcholines.

The 'Compendium' mentioned in the first line of this note is the preceding edition of Biochemical nomenclature and related documents, The Biochemical Society, London 1978 [now as a second edition 1992 (ref 16)].


14. IUPAC-IUB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (JCBN), and Nomenclature Commission of IUB (NC-IUB). Newsletter 1980, Eur. J. Biochem., 1980, 104, 321-322; Hoppe-Seyler's Z. Physiol. Chem., 1980, 361, I-IV.

15. IUPAC-IUB Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (CBN), Nomenclature of lipids (1976), Biochem. J., 1978, 171, 21-35; Chem. Phys. Lipids, 1978, 21, 159-173; Eur. J. Biochem., 1977, 79, 11-21; Hoppe-Seyler's Z. Physiol. Chem., 1977, 358, 617-631; J. Lipid Res., 1978, 19, 114-128; Lipids, 1977, 12, 455-468; Mol. Cell. Biochem., 1977, 17, 157-171; Biochemical Nomenclature and Related Documents, 2nd edition, Portland Press, 1992, pages 180-190.

16. International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biochemical Nomenclature and Related Documents, 2nd edition, Portland Press, 1992, Edited by C Liébecq.

Continued with Lip-1.10 - no longer recommended.

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