Six years later they isolated and purified the enzyme responsible for catalyzing the glycogen-Cori ester reaction, and with it they achieved the test-tube synthesis of glycogen in 1943. Proof of the interconversion allowed them to formulate the "Cori cycle," postulating that liver glycogen is converted to blood glucose that is reconverted to glycogen in muscle, where its breakdown to lactic acid provides the energy utilized in muscle contraction. The lactic acid is used to re-form glycogen in the liver. Studying the way in which hormones affect carbohydrate metabolism in animals, the Coris showed that epinephrine induces the formation of a type of phosphorylase enzyme favouring conversion of glycogen to activated glucose and that insulin causes the removal of sugar from the blood by promoting the addition of phosphate to glucose.
After his wife's death Carl Cori devoted his efforts to research concerning
the physico-chemical action of enzymes involved in the breakdown of
glycogen to lactic acid.
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