Glycogen Structure: an Evolutionary View

  • Enrique Meléndez-Hevia
  • Ruth Meléndez
  • Enric I. Canela
Part of the NATO Science Series book series (ASHT, volume 74)


Muscle glycogen is the fuel for anaerobic glycolysis, a metabolic process to obtain ATP quickly and to support rapid “explosive” movement. The polymer structure of the glycogen molecule is a very efficient way of having a large amount of stored cytoplasmic glucose without a significant increase in osmolarity. Thus, the total amount of fuel stored in liver cells as glycogen (around 10% by weight) is equivalent to 200-400 mM glucose, whereas the concentration of glycogen is only 3.6-7.2 µM. In skeletal muscle of a trained runner the concentration of glycogen is about 2 µM, equivalent to 110 mM glucose (around 1-2% by weight). The branching structure of glycogen supplies many points for phosphorylase attack, allowing the release of more glucose at the same time.


Chain Length Muscle Glycogen Glycogen Storage Disease Anaerobic Glycolysis Glucose Residue 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Meléndez-Hevia
    • 1
  • Ruth Meléndez
    • 2
  • Enric I. Canela
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de La LagunaTenerife, Canary IslandsSpain
  2. 2.Departament de Bioquímica, Facultat de QuímicaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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