The membrane-bound, long form of MGAT4D, termed MGAT4D-L, inhibits MGAT1 activity in transfected cells and reduces the generation of complex N-glycans. MGAT1 is the GlcNAc-transferase that initiates complex and hybrid N-glycan synthesis. We show here that Drosophila MGAT1 was also inhibited by MGAT4D-L in S2 cells. In mammalian cells, expression of MGAT4D-L causes the substrate of MGAT1 (Man5GlcNAc2Asn) to accumulate on glycoproteins, a change that is detected by the lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA). Using GNA binding as an assay for the inhibition of MGAT1 in MGAT4D-L transfectants, we performed site-directed mutagenesis to determine requirements for MGAT1 inhibition. Deletion of 25 amino acids (aa) from the C terminus inactivated MGAT4D-L, but deletion of 20 aa did not. Conversion of the five key amino acids (PSLFQ) to Ala, or deletion of PSLFQ in the context of full-length MGAT4D-L, also inactivated MGAT1 inhibitory activity. Nevertheless, mutant, inactive MGAT4D-L interacted with MGAT1 in co-immuno-precipitation experiments. The PSLFQ sequence also occurs in MGAT4A and MGAT4B GlcNAc-transferases. However, neither inhibited MGAT1 in transfected CHO cells. MGAT4D-L inhibitory activity could be partially transferred by attaching PSLFQ or the 25-aa C terminus of MGAT4D-L to the C terminus of MGAT1. Mutation of each amino acid in PSLFQ to Ala identified both Leu and Phe as independently essential for MGAT4D-L activity. Thus, replacement of either Leu-395 or Phe-396 with Ala led to inactivation of MGAT4D-L inhibitory activity. These findings provide new insights into the mechanism of inhibition of MGAT1 by MGAT4D-L, and for the development of small molecule inhibitors of MGAT1.