GLP-1 Val8: A Biased GLP-1R Agonist with Altered Binding Kinetics and Impaired Release of Pancreatic Hormones in Rats

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Biased ligands that selectively confer activity in one pathway over another are pharmacologically important because biased signaling may reduce on-target side effects and improve drug efficacy. Here, we describe an N-terminal modification in the incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) that alters the signaling capabilities of the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) by making it G protein biased over internalization but was originally designed to confer DPP-4 resistance and thereby prolong the half-life of GLP-1. Despite similar binding affinity, cAMP production, and calcium mobilization, substitution of a single amino acid (Ala8 to Val8) in the N-terminus of GLP-1(7-36)NH2 (GLP-1 Val8) severely impaired its ability to internalize GLP-1R compared to endogenous GLP-1. In-depth binding kinetics analyses revealed shorter residence time for GLP-1 Val8 as well as a slower observed association rate. Molecular dynamics (MD) displayed weaker and less interactions of GLP-1 Val8 with GLP-1R, as well as distinct conformational changes in the receptor compared to GLP-1. In vitro validation of the MD, by receptor alanine substitutions, confirmed stronger impairments of GLP-1 Val8-mediated signaling compared to GLP-1. In a perfused rat pancreas, acute stimulation with GLP-1 Val8 resulted in a lower insulin and somatostatin secretion compared to GLP-1. Our study illustrates that profound differences in molecular pharmacological properties, which are essential for the therapeutic targeting of the GLP-1 system, can be induced by subtle changes in the N-terminus of GLP-1. This information could facilitate the development of optimized GLP-1R agonists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)296-313
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 258277851