In Ascaris suum, muscle glycogen is synthesized during host feeding intervals and degraded during nonfeeding intervals. Glycogen accumulation is up to 12-fold greater than that observed in mammalian muscle. Previous studies have established that many aspects of the parasite glycogen metabolism are comparable with the host, but a novel form of glycogen synthase designated GSII also occurs in the parasite. In this report glycogenin has been identified as the core protein in both mature glycogen and the GSII complex. Digestion of GSII complex glycogen generates discreet intermediates that may correspond to a proglycogen pool, whereas digestion of mature glycogen does not generate these intermediates. Because both GSII complex glycogen and mature glycogen serve as GSII substrates, the GSII complex likely represents an intermediate between glycogenin and mature glycogen. The regulation of glycogenin synthesis or the regulation of GSII activity that converts glycogenin to proglycogen, or both, may account for high levels of polysaccharide accumulation that are essential for A. suum survival.
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