Novel Mechanism of Foxo1 Phosphorylation in Glucagon Signaling in Control of Glucose Homeostasis.
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Dysregulation of hepatic glucose production (HGP) serves as a major underlying mechanism for the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. The pancreatic hormone glucagon increases and insulin suppresses HGP, controlling blood glucose homeostasis. The forkhead transcription factor Foxo1 promotes HGP through increasing expression of genes encoding the rate-limiting enzymes responsible for gluconeogenesis. We previously established that insulin suppresses Foxo1 by Akt-mediated phosphorylation of Foxo1 at Ser256 in human hepatocytes. In this study, we found a novel Foxo1 regulatory mechanism by glucagon, which promotes Foxo1 nuclear translocation and stability via cAMP- and protein kinase A-dependent phosphorylation of Foxo1 at Ser276 Replacing Foxo1-S276 with alanine (A) or aspartate (D) to block or mimic phosphorylation, respectively, markedly regulates Foxo1 stability and nuclear localization in human hepatocytes. To establish in vivo function of Foxo1-Ser276 phosphorylation in glucose metabolism, we generated Foxo1-S273A and Foxo1-S273D knock-in (KI) mice. The KI mice displayed impaired blood glucose homeostasis, as well as the basal and glucagon-mediated HGP in hepatocytes. Thus, Foxo1-Ser276 is a new target site identified in the control of Foxo1 bioactivity and associated metabolic diseases.