Prenols are lipids synthesized from five-carbon isoprene units and are found in many natural products in eukaryotes, archaea, and bacteria. Prenols composed of more than four isoprene units are referred to as polyprenols. Dolichol is a polyprenol of particular importance and has been shown to function as a sugar carrier during the biosynthesis of glycoproteins in human tissues. Other well-studied polyprenol derivatives include coenzyme Q (CoQ). CoQ is well known to play a key role in the oxidative phosphorylation process in mitochondria. This process converts energy from carbohydrates and fatty acids into ATP. Studies also indicate that CoQ can undergo reduction/oxidation reactions in other cell membranes such as lysosomes. Lysosomal CoQ uses these reduction/oxidation reactions to transfer electrons across the membrane and form a proton gradient. These polyprenol derivatives have also been studied in cell signaling, gene expression, cell growth, apoptotic inhibition, and membrane channel control.

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