Transition from glycogen to starch metabolism in archaeplastida

Ugo Cenci, Felix Nitschke, Martin Steup, Berge A. Minassian, Christophe Colleoni, Steven G. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

32 Scopus citations


In this opinion article we propose a scenario detailing how two crucial components have evolved simultaneously to ensure the transition of glycogen to starch in the cytosol of the Archaeplastida last common ancestor: (i) the recruitment of an enzyme from intracellular Chlamydiae pathogens to facilitate crystallization of α-glucan chains; and (ii) the evolution of novel types of polysaccharide (de)phosphorylating enzymes from preexisting glycogen (de)phosphorylation host pathways to allow the turnover of such crystals. We speculate that the transition to starch benefitted Archaeplastida in three ways: more carbon could be packed into osmotically inert material; the host could resume control of carbon assimilation from the chlamydial pathogen that triggered plastid endosymbiosis; and cyanobacterial photosynthate export could be integrated in the emerging Archaeplastida.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Chlamydia-like bacteria
  • Evolution of plastids
  • Lafora disease
  • Polyglucan debranching reactions
  • Starch and glycogen (de)phosphorylation
  • Starch and glycogen metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Transition from glycogen to starch metabolism in archaeplastida'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this