Could anyone explain sterols?

  1. I don't get what they are. My professor said that they were receptors (present in the cell membrane) for different microorganisms but I just can't understand it because my understanding of a receptor is like a receptor for a hormone. Do sterols work similarly?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,558
    Science Advisor

    Sterols are not receptors for microorganisms. They are a class of lipids that play a number of roles in the body. Some sterols are hormones that act on nuclear receptors.
     
  4. Sterols found in the cell membrane typically serve a structural role; they decrease the fluidity of the membrane. As an example, a plant adapted to survive in colder temperatures will typically have fewer sterols in its cells' membranes than, say, a plant adapted for tropical environments.
     
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