The absence of insulin results in oscillating hyperglycemia and ketoacidosis in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Remarkably, mice genetically deficient in the glucagon receptor (Gcgr) are refractory to the pathophysiological symptoms of insulin deficiency, and therefore, studies interrogating this unique model may uncover metabolic regulatory mechanisms that are independent of insulin. A significant feature of Gcgr null mice is the high circulating concentrations of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Hence, the objective of this report was to investigate potential non-insulinotropic roles of GLP-1 in mice where GCGR signaling is inactivated. For these studies, pancreatic ? cells were chemically destroyed by streptozotocin (STZ) in Gcgr(-/-):Glp-1r(-/-) mice and in Glp-1r(-/-) animals that were subsequently treated with a high-affinity GCGR antagonist antibody that recapitulates the physiological state of Gcgr ablation. Loss of GLP-1 action substantially worsened both non-fasting glucose concentrations and glucose tolerance in mice deficient in, and undergoing pharmacological inhibition of, the GCGR. Further, lack of the Glp-1r in STZ-treated Gcgr(-/-) mice elevated rates of endogenous glucose production, likely accounting for the differences in glucose homeostasis. These results support the emerging hypothesis that non-? cell actions of GLP-1 analogs may improve metabolic control in patients suffering from insulinopenic diabetes.
Activation of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) in pancreatic ?-cells potentiates insulin production and is a current therapeutic target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Like other class B G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the GLP-1R contains an N-terminal extracellular ligand binding domain. N-terminal truncations on the peptide agonist generate antagonists capable of binding to the extracellular domain, but not capable of activating full length receptor. The main objective of this study was to use Hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) to identify how the amide hydrogen bonding network of peptide ligands and the extracellular domain of GLP-1R (nGLP-1R) were altered by binding interactions and to then use this platform to validate direct binding events for putative GLP-1R small molecule ligands. The HDX studies presented here for two glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) peptide ligands indicates that the antagonist exendin-4[9-39] is significantly destabilized in the presence of nonionic detergents as compared to the agonist exendin-4. Furthermore, HDX can detect stabilization of exendin-4 and exendin-4[9-39] hydrogen bonding networks at the N-terminal helix [Val19 to Lys27] upon binding to the N-terminal extracellular domain of GLP-1R (nGLP-1R). In addition we show hydrogen bonding network stabilization on nGLP-1R in response to ligand binding, and validate direct binding events with the extracellular domain of the receptor for putative GLP-1R small molecule ligands.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is an incretin hormone that regulates glucose homeostasis. Because of their direct stimulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic ? cells, GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists are now important therapeutic options for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. To better understand the mechanisms that control the insulinotropic actions of GLP-1, affinity purification and mass spectrometry (AP-MS) were employed to uncover potential proteins that functionally interact with the GLP-1R. AP-MS performed on Chinese hamster ovary cells or MIN6 ? cells, both expressing the human GLP-1R, revealed 99 proteins potentially associated with the GLP-1R. Three novel GLP-1R interactors (PGRMC1, Rab5b, and Rab5c) were further validated through co-immunoprecipitation/immunoblotting, fluorescence resonance energy transfer, and immunofluorescence. Functional studies revealed that overexpression of PGRMC1, a novel cell surface receptor that associated with liganded GLP-1R, enhanced GLP-1-induced insulin secretion (GIIS) with the most robust effect. Knockdown of PGRMC1 in ? cells decreased GIIS, indicative of positive interaction with GLP-1R. To gain insight mechanistically, we demonstrated that the cell surface PGRMC1 ligand P4-BSA increased GIIS, whereas its antagonist AG-205 decreased GIIS. It was then found that PGRMC1 increased GLP-1-induced cAMP accumulation. PGRMC1 activation and GIIS induced by P4-BSA could be blocked by inhibition of adenylyl cyclase/EPAC signaling or the EGF receptor-PI3K signal transduction pathway. These data reveal a dual mechanism for PGRMC1-increased GIIS mediated through cAMP and EGF receptor signaling. In conclusion, we identified several novel GLP-1R interacting proteins. PGRMC1 expressed on the cell surface of ? cells was shown to interact with the activated GLP-1R to enhance the insulinotropic actions of GLP-1.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) results from failure of the ? cells to adapt to increased metabolic demands; however, the cause of GDM and the extremely high rate of progression to type 2 diabetes (T2D) remains unknown. Using metabolomics, we show that the furan fatty acid metabolite 3-carboxy-4-methyl-5-propyl-2-furanpropanoic acid (CMPF) is elevated in the plasma of humans with GDM, as well as impaired glucose-tolerant and T2D patients. In mice, diabetic levels of plasma CMPF induced glucose intolerance, impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, and decreased glucose utilization. Mechanistically, we show that CMPF acts directly on the ? cell, causing impaired mitochondrial function, decreasing glucose-induced ATP accumulation, and inducing oxidative stress, resulting in dysregulation of key transcription factors and ultimately reduced insulin biosynthesis. Importantly, specifically blocking its transport through OAT3 or antioxidant treatment could prevent CMPF-induced ? cell dysfunction. Thus, CMPF provides a link between ? cell dysfunction and GDM/T2D that could be targeted therapeutically.
Class B G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are important regulators of endocrine physiology, and peptide-based therapeutics targeting some of these receptors have proven effective at treating disorders such as hypercalcemia, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). As next generation efforts attempt to develop novel non-peptide, orally available molecules for these GPCRs, new animal models expressing human receptor orthologs may be required because small molecule ligands make fewer receptor contacts, and thus, the impact of amino acid differences across species may be substantially greater. The objective of this report was to generate and characterize a new mouse model of the human glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (hGLP-1R), a class B GPCR for which established peptide therapeutics exist for the treatment of T2DM. hGLP-1R knock-in mice express the receptor from the murine Glp-1r locus. Glucose tolerance tests and gastric emptying studies show hGLP-1R mice and their wild-type littermates display similar physiological responses for glucose metabolism, insulin secretion, and gastric transit, and treatment with the GLP-1R agonist, exendin-4, elicits similar responses in both groups. Further, ex vivo assays show insulin secretion from humanized islets is glucose-dependent and enhanced by GLP-1R agonists. To enable additional utility, the targeting construct of the knock-in line was engineered to contain both flanking LoxP sites and a C-terminal FLAG epitope. Anti-FLAG affinity purification shows strong expression of hGLP-1R in islets, lung, and stomach. We crossed the hGLP-1R line with Rosa26Cre mice and generated global Glp-1r-/- animals. Immunohistochemistry of pancreas from humanized and knock-out mice identified a human GLP-1R-specific antibody that detects the GLP-1R in human pancreas as well as in the pancreas of hGLP-1r knock-in mice. This new hGLP-1R model will allow tissue-specific deletion of the GLP-1R, purification of potential GLP-1R partner proteins, and testing of novel therapeutic agents targeting the hGLP-1R.
The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) is a major therapeutic target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes due to its role in glucose homeostasis. Despite the availability of peptide-based GLP-1R drugs for treatment of this disease, there is great interest in developing small molecules that can be administered orally. The GLP-1R system is complex, with multiple endogenous and clinically used peptide ligands that exhibit different signaling biases at this receptor. This study revealed that small molecule ligands acting at this receptor are differentially biased to peptide ligands and also from each other with respect to the signaling pathways that they activate. Furthermore, allosteric small molecule ligands were also able to induce bias in signaling mediated by orthosteric ligands. This was dependent on both the orthosteric and allosteric ligand as no two allosteric-orthosteric ligand pairs could induce the same signaling profile. We highlight the need to profile compounds across multiple signaling pathways and in combination with multiple orthosteric ligands in systems such as the GLP-1R where more than one endogenous ligand exists. In the context of pleiotropical coupling of receptors and the interplay of multiple pathways leading to physiologic responses, profiling of small molecules in this manner may lead to a better understanding of the physiologic consequences of biased signaling at this receptor. This could enable the design and development of improved therapeutics that have the ability to fine-tune receptor signaling, leading to beneficial therapeutic outcomes while reducing side effect profiles.
The etiology of most pediatric hormone deficiency diseases is poorly understood. Children with combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD) have insufficient levels of multiple anterior pituitary hormones causing short stature, metabolic disease, pubertal failure, and often have associated nervous system symptoms. Mutations in developmental regulatory genes required for the specification of the hormone-secreting cell types of the pituitary gland underlie severe forms of CPHD. To better understand these diseases, we have created a unique mouse model of CPHD with a targeted knockin mutation (Lhx3 W227ter), which is a model for the human LHX3 W224ter disease. The LHX3 gene encodes a LIM-homeodomain transcription factor, which has essential roles in pituitary and nervous system development in mammals. The introduced premature termination codon results in deletion of the carboxyl terminal region of the LHX3 protein, which is critical for pituitary gene activation. Mice that lack all LHX3 function do not survive beyond birth. By contrast, the homozygous Lhx3 W227ter mice survive, but display marked dwarfism, thyroid disease, and female infertility. Importantly, the Lhx3 W227ter mice have no apparent nervous system deficits. The Lhx3 W227ter mouse model provides a unique array of hormone deficits and facilitates experimental approaches that are not feasible with human patients. These experiments demonstrate that the carboxyl terminus of the LHX3 transcription factor is not required for viability. More broadly, this study reveals that the in vivo actions of a transcription factor in different tissues are molecularly separable.
The clinical effectiveness of parenterally-administered glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) mimetics to improve glucose control in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes strongly supports discovery pursuits aimed at identifying and developing orally active, small molecule GLP-1 receptor agonists. The purpose of these studies was to identify and characterize novel nonpeptide agonists of the GLP-1 receptor.
Leptomeningeal amyloidosis associated with mutations in transthyretin (TTR) is a rare but fatal form of amyloidosis. Dementia and intracerebral haemorrhage are prominent features of this disease for which no specific therapy is known. In previous studies, we have shown that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) specific for human TTR could inhibit hepatic synthesis of TTR in mice transgenic for a human amyloid-associated TTR and may offer a medical means of treating systemic TTR amyloidosis. Parenteral administration of TTR-specific ASO, however, had no effect on the expression of TTR by the choroid plexus, which is believed to be the source of the amyloid protein in patients who have leptomeningeal amyloidosis. In the present study, mice transgenic for the human TTR amyloid-associated mutation Ile84Ser were treated by administration of TTR-specific ASO (50 microg or 75 microg per day) via an osmotic pump into the cerebral ventricular system over a 4-week period. Intraventricular administration of TTR-specific ASO significantly reduced choroid human TTR mRNA levels, and these findings correlated with decreased TTR in choroid plexus epithelial cells as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. Suppression of choroid TTR expression by intraventricular administered ASO may offer a medical means of treating leptomeningeal amyloidosis.
Identifying novel mechanisms to enhance glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor signaling may enable nascent medicinal chemistry strategies with the aim of developing new orally available therapeutic agents for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that selectively modulating the low-affinity GLP-1 receptor agonist, oxyntomodulin, would improve the insulin secretory properties of this naturally occurring hormone to provide a rationale for pursuing an unexplored therapeutic approach. Signal transduction and competition binding studies were used to investigate oxyntomodulin activity on the GLP-1 receptor in the presence of the small molecule GLP-1 receptor modulator, 4-(3-benzyloxyphenyl)-2-ethylsulfinyl-6-(trifluoromethyl)pyrimidine (BETP). In vivo, the intravenous glucose tolerance test characterized oxyntomodulin-induced insulin secretion in animals administered the small molecule. BETP increased oxyntomodulin binding affinity for the GLP-1 receptor and enhanced oxyntomodulin-mediated GLP-1 receptor signaling as measured by activation of the ? subunit of heterotrimeric G protein and cAMP accumulation. In addition, oxyntomodulin-induced insulin secretion was enhanced in the presence of the compound. BETP was pharmacologically characterized to induce biased signaling by oxyntomodulin. These studies demonstrate that small molecules targeting the GLP-1 receptor can increase binding and receptor activation of the endogenous peptide oxyntomodulin. The biased signaling engendered by BETP suggests that GLP-1 receptor mobilization of cAMP is the critical insulinotropic signaling event. Because of the unique metabolic properties of oxyntomodulin, identifying molecules that enhance its activity should be pursued to assess the efficacy and safety of this novel mechanism.
The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor is one of the best validated therapeutic targets for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Over several years, the accumulation of basic, translational, and clinical research helped define the physiologic roles of GLP-1 and its receptor in regulating glucose homeostasis and energy metabolism. These efforts provided much of the foundation for pharmaceutical development of the GLP-1 receptor peptide agonists, exenatide and liraglutide, as novel medicines for patients suffering from T2DM. Now, much attention is focused on better understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in ligand induced signaling of the GLP-1 receptor. For example, advancements in biophysical and structural biology techniques are being applied in attempts to more precisely determine ligand binding and receptor occupancy characteristics at the atomic level. These efforts should better inform three-dimensional modeling of the GLP-1 receptor that will help inspire more rational approaches to identify and optimize small molecule agonists or allosteric modulators targeting the GLP-1 receptor. This article reviews GLP-1 receptor physiology with an emphasis on GLP-1 induced signaling mechanisms in order to highlight new molecular strategies that help determine desired pharmacologic characteristics for guiding development of future nonpeptide GLP-1 receptor activators.
The therapeutic success of peptide glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus has inspired discovery efforts aimed at developing orally available small molecule GLP-1 receptor agonists. Although the GLP-1 receptor is a member of the structurally complex class B1 family of GPCRs, in recent years, a diverse array of orthosteric and allosteric nonpeptide ligands has been reported. These compounds include antagonists, agonists, and positive allosteric modulators with intrinsic efficacy. In this paper, a comprehensive review of currently disclosed small molecule GLP-1 receptor ligands is presented. In addition, examples of "ligand bias" and "probe dependency" for the GLP-1 receptor are discussed; these emerging concepts may influence further optimization of known molecules or persuade designs of expanded screening strategies to identify novel chemical starting points for GLP-1 receptor drug discovery.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of cell surface receptors and a key drug target class. Recently, allosteric drugs that can co-bind with and modulate the activity of the endogenous ligand(s) for the receptor have become a major focus of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for the development of novel GPCR therapeutic agents. This class of drugs has distinct properties compared with drugs targeting the endogenous (orthosteric) ligand-binding site that include the ability to sculpt cellular signaling and to respond differently in the presence of discrete orthosteric ligands, a behavior termed "probe dependence." Here, using cell signaling assays combined with ex vivo and in vivo studies of insulin secretion, we demonstrate that allosteric ligands can cause marked potentiation of previously "inert" metabolic products of neurotransmitters and peptide hormones, a novel consequence of the phenomenon of probe dependence. Indeed, at the muscarinic M(2) receptor and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor, allosteric potentiation of the metabolites, choline and GLP-1(9-36)NH(2), respectively, was ~100-fold and up to 200-fold greater than that seen with the physiological signaling molecules acetylcholine and GLP-1(7-36)NH(2). Modulation of GLP-1(9-36)NH(2) was also demonstrated in ex vivo and in vivo assays of insulin secretion. This work opens up new avenues for allosteric drug discovery by directly targeting modulation of metabolites, but it also identifies a behavior that could contribute to unexpected clinical outcomes if interaction of allosteric drugs with metabolites is not part of their preclinical assessment.
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