Dysregulated glucagon secretion deteriorates glycemic control in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Although insulin is known to regulate glucagon secretion via its cognate receptor (insulin receptor, INSR) in pancreatic alpha cells, the role of downstream proteins and signaling pathways underlying insulin's activities are not fully defined. Using in vivo (knockout) and in vitro (knockdown) studies targeting insulin receptor substrate (IRS) proteins, we compared the relative roles of IRS1 and IRS2 in regulating alpha cell function. Alpha cell-specific IRS1-knockout mice exhibited glucose intolerance and inappropriate glucagon suppression during glucose tolerance tests. In contrast, alpha cell-specific IRS2-knockout animals manifested normal glucose tolerance and suppression of glucagon secretion after glucose administration. Alpha cell lines with stable IRS1 knockdown could not repress glucagon mRNA expression and exhibited a reduction in phosphorylation of AKT Ser/Thr kinase (AKT, at Ser-473 and Thr-308). AlphaIRS1KD cells also displayed suppressed global protein translation, including reduced glucagon expression, impaired cytoplasmic Ca2+ response, and mitochondrial dysfunction. This was supported by the identification of novel IRS1-specific downstream target genes, Trpc3 and Cartpt, that are associated with glucagon regulation in alpha cells. These results provide evidence that IRS1, rather than IRS2, is a dominant regulator of pancreatic alpha cell function.