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 Steroids have two principal biological roles: as significant modules of cell membranes which alter membrane fluidity; and as signaling molecules. The steroid core construction is typically composed of seventeen carbon atoms, bonded in four "fused" rings: three six-member cyclohexane rings (rings A, B and C in the first illustration) and one five-member cyclopentane ring (the D ring). Steroids differ by the purposeful collections involved to this four-ring core and by the oxidation state of the rings. Sterols are procedures of steroids with a hydroxy group at situation three and a skeleton derivative from cholestane. Steroids can also be more radically altered, such as by variations to the ring assembly, for example, cutting one of the rings. Cutting Ring B creates secosteroids one of which is vitamin D3.

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