Nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the G6PC2 gene affect protein expression, enzyme activity, and fasting blood glucose

J Biol Chem. 2022 Feb;298(2):101534. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101534. Epub 2021 Dec 23.


G6PC2 encodes a glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) catalytic subunit that modulates the sensitivity of insulin secretion to glucose and thereby regulates fasting blood glucose (FBG). A common single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in G6PC2, rs560887 is an important determinant of human FBG variability. This SNP has a subtle effect on G6PC2 RNA splicing, which raises the question as to whether nonsynonymous SNPs with a major impact on G6PC2 stability or enzyme activity might have a broader disease/metabolic impact. Previous attempts to characterize such SNPs were limited by the very low inherent G6Pase activity and expression of G6PC2 protein in islet-derived cell lines. In this study, we describe the use of a plasmid vector that confers high G6PC2 protein expression in islet cells, allowing for a functional analysis of 22 nonsynonymous G6PC2 SNPs, 19 of which alter amino acids that are conserved in mouse G6PC2 and the human and mouse variants of the related G6PC1 isoform. We show that 16 of these SNPs markedly impair G6PC2 protein expression (>50% decrease). These SNPs have variable effects on the stability of human and mouse G6PC1, despite the high sequence homology between these isoforms. Four of the remaining six SNPs impaired G6PC2 enzyme activity. Electronic health record-derived phenotype analyses showed an association between high-impact SNPs and FBG, but not other diseases/metabolites. While homozygous G6pc2 deletion in mice increases the risk of hypoglycemia, these human data reveal no evidence that the beneficial use of partial G6PC2 inhibitors to lower FBG would be associated with unintended negative consequences.

Keywords: enzyme degradation; glucose metabolism; glucose-6-phosphatase; insulin secretion; islet; single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose* / metabolism
  • Fasting* / blood
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase* / genetics
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


  • Blood Glucose
  • G6pc2 protein, mouse
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase