The role of phosphate in muscle glycogen

J. Lomako, W. M. Lomako, B. R. Kirkman, W. J. Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


As previously shown for rabbit liver glycogen, rabbit muscle glycogen contains a small amount of phosphate ester and there is an intermolecular heterogeneity in phosphate content such that the glycogen may be fractionated on DEAE-cellulose into components differing 10-fold in their phosphate contents. We now know that the phosphate ester is of two types, mono and di. The availability of the phosphomonoester component to hydrolysis by alkaline phosphatase is sterically regulated and is highest in the fraction of highest total phosphate content. The ability of the glycogen fractions to act as primers for glycogen synthase also varies with phosphate content, differing overall by >2-fold. The priming ability increases with increasing phosphate content. We suggest that the phosphate content of a glycogen molecule may be related to its age and that this may be used as a metabolic marker when studying the turnover of glycogen, also that phosphate may be a signal for transport of glycogen to the lysosome. The phosphodiester grouping may act as a point of branching in glycogen, additional to the recognized interglucosidic branch, and is a candidate for the acid- and alkali-labile bond that has been reported in glycogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1994


  • glycogen synthase
  • muscle glycogen
  • phosphate ester

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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