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J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 3;287(6):3642-58. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.309328. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Second extracellular loop of human glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) has a critical role in GLP-1 peptide binding and receptor activation.

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Drug Discovery Biology, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.


The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) is a therapeutically important family B G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that is pleiotropically coupled to multiple signaling effectors and, with actions including regulation of insulin biosynthesis and secretion, is one of the key targets in the management of type II diabetes mellitus. However, there is limited understanding of the role of the receptor core in orthosteric ligand binding and biological activity. To assess involvement of the extracellular loop (ECL) 2 in ligand-receptor interactions and receptor activation, we performed alanine scanning mutagenesis of loop residues and assessed the impact on receptor expression and GLP-1(1-36)-NH(2) or GLP-1(7-36)-NH(2) binding and activation of three physiologically relevant signaling pathways as follows: cAMP formation, intracellular Ca(2+) (Ca(2+)(i)) mobilization, and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (pERK1/2). Although antagonist peptide binding was unaltered, almost all mutations affected GLP-1 peptide agonist binding and/or coupling efficacy, indicating an important role in receptor activation. However, mutation of several residues displayed distinct pathway responses with respect to wild type receptor, including Arg-299 and Tyr-305, where mutation significantly enhanced both GLP-1(1-36)-NH(2)- and GLP-1(7-36)-NH(2)-mediated signaling bias for pERK1/2. In addition, mutation of Cys-296, Trp-297, Asn-300, Asn-302, and Leu-307 significantly increased GLP-1(7-36)-NH(2)-mediated signaling bias toward pERK1/2. Of all mutants studied, only mutation of Trp-306 to alanine abolished all biological activity. These data suggest a critical role of ECL2 of the GLP-1R in the activation transition(s) of the receptor and the importance of this region in the determination of both GLP-1 peptide- and pathway-specific effects.

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