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J Bacteriol. 2005 Feb;187(4):1465-73.

Role of the Escherichia coli glgX gene in glycogen metabolism.

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CSIRO UMR8576, Cité Scientifique, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France.


A role for the Escherichia coli glgX gene in bacterial glycogen synthesis and/or degradation has been inferred from the sequence homology between the glgX gene and the genes encoding isoamylase-type debranching enzymes; however, experimental evidence or definition of the role of the gene has been lacking. Construction of E. coli strains with defined deletions in the glgX gene is reported here. The results show that the GlgX gene encodes an isoamylase-type debranching enzyme with high specificity for hydrolysis of chains consisting of three or four glucose residues. This specificity ensures that GlgX does not generate an extensive futile cycle during glycogen synthesis in which chains with more than four glucose residues are transferred by the branching enzyme. Disruption of glgX leads to overproduction of glycogen containing short external chains. These results suggest that the GlgX protein is predominantly involved in glycogen catabolism by selectively debranching the polysaccharide outer chains that were previously recessed by glycogen phosphorylase.

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