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Nat Chem Biol. 2007 Jul;3(7):415-9. Epub 2007 Jun 3.

Extension of Drosophila melanogaster life span with a GPCR peptide inhibitor.

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Division of Biology, 1200 E. California Blvd. 156-29, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate signaling from extracellular ligands to intracellular signal transduction proteins. Methuselah (Mth) is a class B (secretin-like) GPCR, a family typified by their large, ligand-binding, N-terminal extracellular domains. Downregulation of mth increases the life span of Drosophila melanogaster; inhibitors of Mth signaling should therefore enhance longevity. We used mRNA display selection to identify high-affinity (K(d) = 15 to 30 nM) peptide ligands that bind to the N-terminal ectodomain of Mth. The selected peptides are potent antagonists of Mth signaling, and structural studies suggest that they perturb the interface between the Mth ecto- and transmembrane domains. Flies constitutively expressing a Mth antagonist peptide have a robust life span extension, which suggests that the peptides inhibit Mth signaling in vivo. Our work thus provides new life span-extending ligands for a metazoan and a general approach for the design of modulators of this important class of GPCRs.

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