Glucagon-like peptide-1 and its class B G protein-coupled receptors: a long march to therapeutic successes

Chris de Graaf, Dan Donnelly, Denise Wootten, Jesper Lau, Patrick M. Sexton, Laurence J. Miller, Jung-Mo Ahn, Jiayu Liao, Madeleine M. Fletcher, Dehua Yang, Alastair J. H. Brown, Caihong Zhou, Jiejie Deng, Ming-Wei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


The glucagon-likepeptide (GLP)-1receptor (GLP-1R) is a class B G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that mediates the action of GLP-1, a peptide hormone secreted from three major tissues in humans,enteroendocrine L cells in the distal intestine, a cells in the pancreas, and the central nervous system, which exerts important actions useful in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity, including glucose homeostasis and regulation of gastric motility and food intake. Peptidic analogs of GLP-1 have been successfully developed with enhanced bioavailability and pharmacological activity. Physiologic and biochemical studies with truncated, chimeric, and mutated peptides and GLP-1R variants, together with ligand-bound crystal structures of the extracellular domain and the first three-dimensional structures of the 7-helical transmembrane domain of class B GPCRs, have provided the basis for a two domain-binding mechanism of GLP-1 with its cognate receptor. Although efforts in discovering therapeutically viable non peptidic GLP-1R agonists have been hampered, small-molecule modulators offer complementary chemical tools to peptide analogs to investigate ligand-directed biased cellular signaling of GLP-1R. The integrated pharmacological and structural information of different GLP-1 analogs and homologous receptors give new insights into the molecular determinants of GLP-1R ligand selectivity and functional activity, thereby providing novel opportunities in the design and development of more efficacious agents to treat metabolic disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-1013
Number of pages60
JournalPharmacological Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

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