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The Journal of biological chemistry

Glycogen phosphomonoester distribution in mouse models of the progressive myoclonic epilepsy, Lafora disease.


PMID 25416783

Abstract

Glycogen is a branched polymer of glucose that acts as an energy reserve in many cell types. Glycogen contains trace amounts of covalent phosphate, in the range of 1 phosphate per 500-2000 glucose residues depending on the source. The function, if any, is unknown, but in at least one genetic disease, the progressive myoclonic epilepsy Lafora disease, excessive phosphorylation of glycogen has been implicated in the pathology by disturbing glycogen structure. Some 90% of Lafora cases are attributed to mutations of the EPM2A or EPM2B genes, and mice with either gene disrupted accumulate hyperphosphorylated glycogen. It is, therefore, of importance to understand the chemistry of glycogen phosphorylation. Rabbit skeletal muscle glycogen contained covalent phosphate as monoesters of C2, C3, and C6 carbons of glucose residues based on analyses of phospho-oligosaccharides by NMR. Furthermore, using a sensitive assay for glucose 6-P in hydrolysates of glycogen coupled with measurement of total phosphate, we determined the proportion of C6 phosphorylation in rabbit muscle glycogen to be ∼20%. C6 phosphorylation also accounted for ∼20% of the covalent phosphate in wild type mouse muscle glycogen. Glycogen phosphorylation in Epm2a(-/-) and Epm2b(-/-) mice was increased 8- and 4-fold compared with wild type mice, but the proportion of C6 phosphorylation remained unchanged at ∼20%. Therefore, our results suggest that C2, C3, and/or C6 phosphate could all contribute to abnormal glycogen structure or to Lafora disease.