Implications of ligand-receptor binding kinetics on GLP-1R signalling

Zhao P, Truong TT, Merlin J, Sexton PM, Wootten D. Biochem Pharmacol. 2022 May;199:114985.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest class of membrane proteins and in recent years there has been a growing appreciation of the importance in understanding temporal aspects of GPCR behaviour, including the kinetics of ligand binding and downstream receptor mediated signalling. Class B1 GPCRs are activated by peptide agonists and are validated therapeutic targets for numerous diseases. However, the kinetics of ligand binding and how this is linked to downstream activation of signalling cascades is not routinely assessed in development of peptide agonists for this receptor class. The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) is a prototypical class B1 GPCR and a validated target for treatment of global health burdens, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. In this study we examined the kinetics of different steps in GLP-1R activation and subsequent cAMP production mediated by a series of GLP-1R peptide agonists, including the ligand-receptor interaction, ligand-receptor-mediated G protein engagement and conformational change and cAMP production. Our results revealed GLP-1R peptide agonist dissociation kinetics (Koff), but not association kinetics (Kon), were positively correlated with the onset of receptor-G protein coupling/conformational change, onset of cAMP production and duration of cAMP signalling. Thus, this study advances the understanding of molecular events that couple GLP-1R ligand binding to intracellular signaling, with the findings likely to have implications for mechanistic understanding of agonist action at other related class B1 GPCRs.

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