Glycogen is conventionally considered as a transient energy reserve that can be rapidly synthesized for glucose accumulation and mobilized for ATP production. However, this conception is not completely applicable to prokaryotes due to glycogen structural heterogeneity. A number of studies noticed that glycogen with small average chain length gc in bacteria has the potential to degrade slowly, which might prolong bacterial environment survival. This phenomenon was previously examined and later formulated as the durable energy storage mechanism hypothesis. Although recent research has been warming to the hypothesis, experimental validation is still missing at current stage. In this review, we summarized recent progress of the hypothesis, provided a supporting mathematical model, and explored the technical pitfalls that shall be avoided in glycogen study.
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