N-glycan Remodeling on Glucagon Receptor is an Effector of Nutrient-sensing by the Hexosamine Biosynthesis Pathway [Metabolism]

April 17th, 2014 by Johswich, A., Longuet, C., Pawling, J., Abdel Rahman, A., Ryczko, M., Drucker, D. J., Dennis, J. W.

Glucose homeostasis in mammals is dependent on the opposing actions of insulin and glucagon. The Golgi N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases encoded by Mgat1, Mgat2, Mgat4a/b/c and Mgat5 modify the N-glycans on receptors and solute transporter, possibly adapting activities in response to the metabolic environment. Herein we report that Mgat5-/-mice display diminished glycemic response to exogenous glucagon, together with increased insulin sensitivity. Glucagon receptor signaling and gluconeogenesis in Mgat5-/- cultured hepatocytes was impaired. In HEK293 cells, signaling by ectopically expressed glucagon receptor was increased by Mgat5 expression and GlcNAc supplementation to UDP-GlcNAc, the donor substrate shared by Mgat branching enzymes. The mobility of glucagon receptor in primary hepatocytes was reduced by galectin-9 binding, and the strength of the interaction was dependent on Mgat5 and UDP-GlcNAc levels. Finally, oral GlcNAc supplementation rescued the glucagon response in Mgat5-/-hepatocytes and mice, as well as glycolytic metabolites and UDP-GlcNAc levels in liver. Our results reveal that the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway and GlcNAc salvage contribute to glucose homeostasis, through N-glycan branching on glucagon receptor.