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Department of Pharmacology

Weston, C, Poyner, D, Patel, V, Dowell, S, Ladds, G

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor performs an important role in glycaemic control, stimulating the release of insulin. It is an attractive target for treating type 2 diabetes. Recently, several reports of adverse side effects following prolonged use of GLP-1 receptor therapies have emerged: most likely due to an incomplete understanding of signalling complexities. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: We describe the expression of the GLP-1 receptor in a panel of modified yeast strains that couple receptor activation to cell growth via single Gα/yeast chimeras. This assay enables the study of individual ligand-receptor G protein coupling preferences and the quantification of the effect of GLP-1 receptor ligands on G protein selectivity. KEY RESULTS: The GLP-1 receptor functionally coupled to the chimeras representing the human Gαs, Gαi and Gαq subunits. Calculation of the dissociation constant for a receptor antagonist, exendin-3 revealed no significant difference between the two systems. We obtained previously unobserved differences in G protein signalling bias for clinically relevant therapeutic agents, liraglutide and exenatide; the latter displaying significant bias for the Gαi pathway. We extended the use of the system to investigate small-molecule allosteric compounds and the closely related glucagon receptor. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: These results provide a better understanding of the molecular events involved in GLP-1 receptor pleiotropic signalling and establish the yeast platform as a robust tool to screen for more selective, efficacious compounds acting at this important class of receptors in the future.

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August 2014
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Journal articles
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Br J Pharmacol
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