α-Glucans (alpha-glucans) are polysaccharides of D-glucose monomers linked with glycosidic bonds of the alpha form. α-Glucans use cofactors in a cofactor site in order to activate a glucan phosphorylase enzyme. This enzyme causes a reaction that transfers a glucosyl portion between orthophosphate and α-I,4-glucan. The position of the cofoactors to the active sites on the enzyme are critical to the overall reaction rate thus, any alteration to the cofactor site leads to the disruption of the glucan binding site.
Examples of alpha glucans
- dextran, α-1,6-glucan
- glycogen, α-1,4- and α-1,6-glucan
- pullulan, α-1,4- and α-1,6-glucan
- starch, α-1,4- (such as amylose) and α-1,6-glucan (including amylopectin)
- Shimomura, Shoji; Fukui, Toshio (1980). "A comparative study on .alpha.-glucan phosphorylases from plant and animal: interrelationship between the polysaccharide and pyridoxal phosphate binding sites by affinity electrophoresis". Biochemistry. 19 (11): 2287–2294. doi:10.1021/bi00552a001.
- Ai Y, Nelson B, Birt DF, Jane JL (2013). "In vitro and in vivo digestion of octenyl succinic starch". Carbohydrate Polymers. 98 (2): 1266–1271. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.07.057. PMID 24053802.
 Page that explains alpha-glucan linkages in starch.
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