The polysaccharide storage kind of glucose in animals is glycogen, vice versa, in tree it is starch. Both that these are polymers the α-glucose with α-l,4 glycosidic linkages and also α-l,6 glycosidic branch clues (Wikipedia write-up on polysaccharides). The only distinction that many sources mention (e.g. Berg et al.

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) is the glycogen contains an ext branches 보다 starch.

It is no clear come me from this info what impact the different branching would have on the frameworks of the polysaccharides, nor why one rather than the other would be preferred in animals and plants.

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Kenny Kim
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The vital difference between glycogen and also amylopectin (the key constituent of starch) is not the number that α l,6-glycosidic branches, yet their arrangement.

In glycogen branches room successively subdivided, producing a reasonably small globular framework that is can not to prosper further. It is soluble in one aqueous atmosphere and, with its plenty of exposed ends, have the right to be metabolized promptly — ideal for animal cells in which power reserves must be mobilized in response to instant demands, e.g. Because that muscle contraction.

In amylopectin there is a long central polysaccharide chain from which branches of restricted size expand at intervals. This produce much bigger semi-crystalline corpuscle (starch grains), a form especially suitable to long-term mass storage in seeds and also tubers.

The Chemistry


This is the common feature of glycogen and the amylopectin part of starch. (The amylose portion is unbranched.) In glycogen over there is approx. One branch allude per 10 glucose units, conversely, in amylopectin the number is 1 per 24–30 (source: Wikipedia).

The Topography

The difference branching topography that the 2 polysaccharides, pointed out above, is portrayed diagrammatically below:


This is a two-dimensional representation. In 3 dimensions the glycogen spreads the end in every directions indigenous a main point — in reality the inside wall enzyme, glycogenin. In three-dimensions the amylopectin strands greatly lay side by side.

The Macro-structure

The illustration below, modified from Bell et al., mirrors the different shapes and also sizes that the macromolecular structures. It need to be stated that semi-crystalline nature that amylopectin is aided through the helical construction of the chains.


Rather than offering a précis the the evaluation of Bell et al. (Journal of speculative Botany, Vol. 62, pp. 1775–1801, 2011) i shall quote native them directly (omitting their citations).

As regards glycogen castle write:

Each chain, through the exception of the outer unbranched chains, supports two branches. This branching pattern enables for spherical expansion of the fragment generating tiers (a tier synchronizes to the spherical room separating two consecutive branches from every chains situated at similar distance indigenous the center of the particle). This type of expansion leads to rise in the thickness of chains in every tier leading to a progressively more crowded framework towards the periphery.

Mathematical modelling predicts a maximal value for the bit size over which further growth is impossible as there would certainly not it is in sufficient room for interaction of the chains with the catalytic web page of glycogen line enzymes. This generates a fragment consisting that 12 tiers corresponding to a 42 nm maximal diameter including 55,000 glucose residues. 36% of this total number rests in the outer (unbranched) shell and is for this reason readily available to glycogen catabolism there is no debranching. In vivo, glycogen particles are thus existing in the kind of this limit dimension granules (macroglycogen) and likewise smaller granules representing intermediate states of glycogen biosynthesis and degradation (proglycogen). Glycogen particles are totally hydrosoluble and, therefore, define a state whereby the glucose is rendered less energetic osmotically however readily available to fast mobilization v the enzymes of glycogen catabolism as if it to be in the dissolve phase.

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Regarding amylopectin they write:

Amylopectin defines one of, if not the largest, organic polymer known and contains from 105–106 glucose residues. There is no theoretical upper limit come the size reached by individual amylopectin molecules. This is not because of the contempt lesser level of all at once branching the the molecule when compared to glycogen. Rather it is as result of the way the branches distribute within the structure. The branches are concentrated in part of the amylopectin molecule causing clusters of chains that allow for indefinite development of the polysaccharide. Another significant feature the the amylopectin swarm structure is composed of the thick packing that chains produced at the root of the clusters wherein the density of branches locally reaches or exceeds the of glycogen. This thick packing that branches generates tightly packed glucan chains that room close sufficient to align and type parallel double helical structures. The helices in ~ a solitary cluster and neighbouring clusters align and form sections the crystalline structures separated by sections of amorphous product (containing the branches) in order to generating the semi-crystalline nature of amylopectin and of the occurring starch granule. Certainly the crystallized chains become insoluble and also typically collapse into a macrogranular solid. This osmotically inert strength granule allows for the warehouse of unlimited quantities of glucose that come to be metabolically unavailable. Certainly the enzymes of strength synthesis and also mobilization room unable to interact directly v the solid structure with the noticeable exemption of granule-bound starch synthase the single enzyme forced for amylose synthesis.


The paucity of information on plant starch metabolism would seem come reflect a mix of your being less is known about plant biochemistry, and also less basic interest since of a general emphasis on medical and also animal biochemistry. Although an pet biochemist myself (and, thus, previously ignorant that the info in this answer) ns feel the it is time to redress this imbalance.