I read that glycogen is a mobilised store of glucose:

Glycogen is a readily mobilized storage form of glucose. It is a very large, branched polymer of glucose residues (Figure 21.1) that can be broken down to yield glucose molecules when energy is needed. Most of the glucose residues in glycogen are linked by α-1,4-glycosidic bonds. [Source]

When looking online, mobilisation refers to something that is capable of movement.

I think glycogen mobilisation has something to do with glycogenolysis but not sure how to easily define glycogen mobilisation.

How would you define glycogen mobilisation in the easiest definition?

  • $\begingroup$ It would be helpful to see the context in which you encountered the term. $\endgroup$ – Maximilian Press Dec 22 '20 at 22:15

I think the key to understanding mobilization in this context is in the second sentence:

[Glycogen] can be broken down to yield glucose molecules when energy is needed.

The authors are using mobilize in a figurative sense to suggest that glycogen can be quickly and efficiently metabolized to suit the energy needs of the body, like an army may be mobilized to fight a war. See definition #2 on Wiktionary:

mobilize (verb)
2. (transitive) To assemble troops and their equipment in a coordinated fashion so as to be ready for war.


I think that @acvill more or less gets it, but I wanted to add a direct usage in context that makes clear the meaning.

I found this as the top hit when I google "glycogen mobilization". It has a lot of information and it is not straightforward, but it makes clear that mobilization is the process of breaking down glycogen into glucose. For instance, one slide says:

Glycogen phosphorylase usespyridoxal phosphate (PLP) a derivative of pyridixine (vitamine B6) as a coenzyme. B6 is required for the mobilization of glucose from glycogen.

As far as I can tell, "glycogen mobilization" means the mobilization of glucose from glycogen, therefore it is a special case of glucose mobilization in which the source molecule is glycogen. For example:

Glucose is a negative regulator of liver phosphorylase. – Glucose is not mobilized when glucose is abundant.

Additionally, wikipedia says:

...debranching enzymes mobilize glucose reserves from glycogen deposits in the liver.


glycogen debranching enzymes function in glycogen breakdown and glucose mobilization. When phosphorylase has digested a glycogen branch down to four glucose residues, it will not remove further residues. Glycogen debranching enzymes assist phosphorylase, the primary enzyme involved in glycogen breakdown, in the mobilization of glycogen stores.

So glycogen mobilization == glucose mobilization, in the context of human biology. That is admittedly kind of confusing.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 This is a good clarification $\endgroup$ – acvill Dec 23 '20 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @acvill $\endgroup$ – Jacintha Dec 30 '20 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for clarifying @Maximilian Press $\endgroup$ – Jacintha Dec 30 '20 at 19:55

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