Glycogen with short average chain length enhances bacterial durability
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- Wang, L. & Wise, M.J. Naturwissenschaften (2011) 98: 719. doi:10.1007/s00114-011-0832-x
Glycogen is conventionally viewed as an energy reserve that can be rapidly mobilized for ATP production in higher organisms. However, several studies have noted that glycogen with short average chain length in some bacteria is degraded very slowly. In addition, slow utilization of glycogen is correlated with bacterial viability, that is, the slower the glycogen breakdown rate, the longer the bacterial survival time in the external environment under starvation conditions. We call that a durable energy storage mechanism (DESM). In this review, evidence from microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology will be assembled to support the hypothesis of glycogen as a durable energy storage compound. One method for testing the DESM hypothesis is proposed.