The G6PC2 locus, encoding the catalytic subunit of the islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase enzyme, is an established risk locus for HbA1c and fasting glucose levels. A critical role of glycolytic flux in regulating glucagon secretion was established through manipulation of the activity and expression of the glycolytic enzyme glucokinase (GCK) which controls the setpoint for glucose-suppression of glucagon secretion (GSGS) . G6PC2 opposes the action of GCK by hydrolyzing glucose-6-phosphate back to glucose and creating a futile substrate cycle. Previous studies from germline and β-cell-specific G6PC2 null mice have demonstrated that G6PC2 ablation reduces glucose-6-phosphatase activity, glucose cycling, and glycolytic flux, resulting in a leftward shift of dose-response curve for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Through cell type specific chromatin accessibility maps of sorted human islet cells, we established that G6PC2 risk SNPs are in open chromatin regions in human α-cells, suggesting that they might not only affect β-cell but also α-cell expression of this critical gene. To test whether α-cell G6PC2 impacts glycemic control, we derived a new mouse line that induces ablation of the first three exons of G6PC2 after Cre activation – resulting in a null allele (G6pc2loxP/loxP; Gcg-CreERT2; referred to as “α-G6PC2KO”) . Assessment of glucagonemia during glucose tolerance tests revealed a decrease in glucagon levels in α-G6PC2KO mice relative to controls. Intriguingly, fasting blood glucose levels were significantly lower in α-G6PC2KO mice. α-G6PC2KO mice recovered more slowly from hypoglycemia during an insulin tolerance test, and presented lower glucagon levels relative to control mice following the insulin bolus. α-G6PC2KO islets secreted less glucagon relative to control islets when incubated in low-glucose media, independent of alterations in insulin secretion or islet hormone content. Collectively, our data demonstrate that the G6PC2 locus impacts glycemic control via its action in α-cells.


V. Bahl: None. C. L. May: None. Human pancreas analysis program: n/a. K. H. Kaestner: None.

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