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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jan 9;93(1):310-5.

Antibodies against specific extracellular epitopes of the glucagon receptor block glucagon binding.

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Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Polyclonal antibodies were prepared against synthetic peptides corresponding to four different extramembrane segments of the rat glucagon receptor. The antibodies bound specifically to native glucagon receptor as judged by immunofluorescence microscopy of cultured cells expressing a synthetic gene for the receptor. Antibodies to peptides designated PR-15 and DK-12 were directed against amino acid residues 103-117 and 126-137, respectively, of the extracellular N-terminal tail. Antibody to peptide KD-14 was directed against residues 206-219 of the first extracellular loop, and antibody to peptide ST-18, against the intracellular C-terminal tail, residues 468-485. The DK-12 and KD-14 antibodies, but not the PR-15 and ST-18 antibodies, could effectively block binding of 125I-labeled glucagon to its receptor in liver membranes. Incubation of these antibodies with rat liver membranes resulted in both a decrease in the maximal hormonal binding capacity and an apparent decrease in glucagon affinity for its receptor. These effects were abolished in the presence of excess specific peptide antigen. In addition, DK-12 and KD-14 antibodies, but not PR-15 and ST-18 antibodies, interfered with glucagon-induced adenylyl cyclase activation in rat liver membranes and behaved as functional glucagon antagonists. These results demonstrate that DK-12 and KD-14 antibodies are pharmacologically active glucagon antagonists and strongly suggest that residues 126-137 of the N-terminal tail and residues 206-219 of the first extracellular loop contain determinants of ligand binding and may comprise the primary ligand-binding site on the glucagon receptor.

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