Glycogen metabolism in health and disease

Glycogen metabolism plays an important role in health and disease, as it provides a storage molecule (granule) for glucose in skeletal muscle. Impairment of glucose metabolism results in diabetes. Glycogen stores are affected by the training status of an individual, their age and their metabolic state. We have an interest in understanding how proteins important for glycogen metabolism and regulation, for example, glycogen related proteins, AMP activated kinase (AMPK) and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) are involved in skeletal muscle function, in particular in response to exercise and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Importantly, we are trying to understand what the mechanisms are that result in an improvement in this metabolic disease following exercise interventions. Much of the work involves isolation of individual muscle fibres and following the movement of proteins following particular interventions. By understanding how and when the various proteins are associated with the glycogen granule, we aim to provide the necessary information to understand the intricate involvement of glycogen with muscle function.