Genome-wide association study (GWAS) data have linked the G6PC2 gene to variations in fasting blood glucose (FBG). G6PC2 encodes an islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit that forms a substrate cycle with the beta cell glucose sensor glucokinase. This cycle modulates the glucose sensitivity of insulin secretion and hence FBG. GWAS data have not linked G6PC2 to variations in body weight but we previously reported that female C57BL/6J G6pc2-knockout (KO) mice were lighter than wild-type littermates on both a chow and high-fat diet. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of G6pc2 deletion on FBG and body weight in both chow-fed and high-fat-fed mice on two other genetic backgrounds. FBG was reduced in G6pc2 KO mice largely independent of gender, genetic background or diet. In contrast, the effect of G6pc2 deletion on body weight was markedly influenced by these variables. Deletion of G6pc2 conferred a marked protection against diet-induced obesity in male mixed genetic background mice, whereas in 129SvEv mice deletion of G6pc2 had no effect on body weight. G6pc2 deletion also reduced plasma cholesterol levels in a manner dependent on gender, genetic background and diet. An association between G6PC2 and plasma cholesterol was also observed in humans through electronic health record-derived phenotype analyses. These observations suggest that the action of G6PC2 on FBG is largely independent of the influences of environment, modifier genes or epigenetic events, whereas the action of G6PC2 on body weight and cholesterol are influenced by unknown variables.
Kayla A Boortz, Kristen E Syring, Lynley D Pound, Huan Mo, Lisa Bastarache, James K Oeser, Owen P McGuinness, Joshua C Denny and Richard M O’Brien
Karin J Bosma, Mohsin Rahim, Kritika Singh, Slavina B Goleva, Martha L Wall, Jing Xia, Kristen E Syring, James K Oeser, Greg Poffenberger, Owen P McGuinness, Anna L Means, Alvin C Powers, Wen-hong Li, Lea K Davis, Jamey D Young and Richard M O’Brien
The G6PC1, G6PC2 and G6PC3 genes encode distinct glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit (G6PC) isoforms. In mice, germline deletion of G6pc2 lowers fasting blood glucose (FBG) without affecting fasting plasma insulin (FPI) while, in isolated islets, glucose-6-phosphatase activity and glucose cycling are abolished and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) is enhanced at submaximal but not high glucose. These observations are all consistent with a model in which G6PC2 regulates the sensitivity of GSIS to glucose by opposing the action of glucokinase. G6PC2 is highly expressed in human and mouse islet beta cells however, various studies have shown trace G6PC2 expression in multiple tissues raising the possibility that G6PC2 also affects FBG through non-islet cell actions. Using real-time PCR we show here that expression of G6pc1 and/or G6pc3 are much greater than G6pc2 in peripheral tissues, whereas G6pc2 expression is much higher than G6pc3 in both pancreas and islets with G6pc1 expression not detected. In adult mice, beta cell-specific deletion of G6pc2 was sufficient to reduce FBG without changing FPI. In addition, electronic health record-derived phenotype analyses showed no association between G6PC2 expression and phenotypes clearly unrelated to islet function in humans. Finally, we show that germline G6pc2 deletion enhances glycolysis in mouse islets and that glucose cycling can also be detected in human islets. These observations are all consistent with a mechanism by which G6PC2 action in islets is sufficient to regulate the sensitivity of GSIS to glucose and hence influence FBG without affecting FPI.