Glycogen is a glucose storage molecule composed of branched α-1,4-glucan chains, best known as an energy reserve that can be broken down to fuel central metabolism. Because fungal cells have a specialized need for glucose in building cell wall glucans, we investigated whether glycogen is used for this process. For these studies, we focused on the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes ~150,000 deaths per year worldwide. We identified two proteins that influence formation of both glycogen and the cell wall: glycogenin (Glg1), which initiates glycogen synthesis, and a protein that we call Glucan organizing enzyme 1 (Goe1). We found that cells missing Glg1 lack α-1,4-glucan in their walls, indicating that this material is derived from glycogen. Without Goe1, glycogen rosettes are mislocalized and β-1,3-glucan in the cell wall is reduced. Altogether, our results provide mechanisms for a close association between glycogen and cell wall.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2319707121
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 21 2024


  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • cell wall
  • glycogen
  • glycogenin
  • glycosyltransferase


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