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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2010 Nov;34(6):952-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2010.00220.x.

Regulation of glycogen metabolism in yeast and bacteria.

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Biochemistry and Nutrition Department, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA, USA.


Microorganisms have the capacity to utilize a variety of nutrients and adapt to continuously changing environmental conditions. Many microorganisms, including yeast and bacteria, accumulate carbon and energy reserves to cope with the starvation conditions temporarily present in the environment. Glycogen biosynthesis is a main strategy for such metabolic storage, and a variety of sensing and signaling mechanisms have evolved in evolutionarily distant species to ensure the production of this homopolysaccharide. At the most fundamental level, the processes of glycogen synthesis and degradation in yeast and bacteria share certain broad similarities. However, the regulation of these processes is sometimes quite distinct, indicating that they have evolved separately to respond optimally to the habitat conditions of each species. This review aims to highlight the mechanisms, both at the transcriptional and at the post-transcriptional level, that regulate glycogen metabolism in yeast and bacteria, focusing on selected areas where the greatest increase in knowledge has occurred during the last few years. In the yeast system, we focus particularly on the various signaling pathways that control the activity of the enzymes of glycogen storage. We also discuss our recent understanding of the important role played by the vacuole in glycogen metabolism. In the case of bacterial glycogen, special emphasis is placed on aspects related to the genetic regulation of glycogen metabolism and its connection with other biological processes.

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