The liver responds to an increase in blood glucose levels in the postprandial state by uptake of glucose and conversion to glycogen. Liver glycogen synthase (GYS2), a key enzyme in glycogen synthesis, is controlled by a complex interplay between the allosteric activator glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) and reversible phosphorylation through glycogen synthase kinase-3 and the glycogen-associated form of protein phosphatase 1. Here, we initially performed mutagenesis analysis and identified a key residue (Arg582) required for activation of GYS2 by G6P. We then used GYS2 Arg582Ala knockin (+/R582A) mice in which G6P-mediated GYS2 activation had been profoundly impaired (60–70%), while sparing regulation through reversible phosphorylation. R582A mutant–expressing hepatocytes showed significantly reduced glycogen synthesis with glucose and insulin or glucokinase activator, which resulted in channeling glucose/G6P toward glycolysis and lipid synthesis. GYS2+/R582A mice were modestly glucose intolerant and displayed significantly reduced glycogen accumulation with feeding or glucose load in vivo. These data show that G6P-mediated activation of GYS2 plays a key role in controlling glycogen synthesis and hepatic glucose-G6P flux control and thus whole-body glucose homeostasis.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-0880/-/DC1.
K.S. is currently affiliated with Quartier de l'innovation, Campus Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences SA, Lausanne, Switzerland.
- Received June 4, 2013.
- Accepted August 27, 2013.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
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