Exendin-4, a 39-amino acid (AA) peptide, is a long-acting agonist at the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor. Consequently, it may be preferable to GLP-1 as a long-term treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Exendin-4 (Ex-4), unlike GLP-1, is not degraded by dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV), is less susceptible to degradation by neutral endopeptidase, and possesses a nine-AA C-terminal sequence absent from GLP-1. Here we examine the importance of these nine AAs for biological activity of Ex-4, a sequence of truncated Ex-4 analogs, and native GLP-1 and GLP-1 analogs to which all or parts of the C-terminal sequence have been added. We found that removing these AAs from Ex-4 to produce Ex (1-30) reduced the affinity for the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) relative to Ex-4 (IC50: Ex-4, 3.22+/-0.9 nM; Ex (1-30), 32+/-5.8 nM) but made it comparable to that of GLP-1 (IC50: 44.9+/-3.2 nM). The addition of this nine-AA sequence to GLP-1 improved the affinity of both GLP-1 and the DPP IV resistant analog GLP-1 8-glycine for the GLP-1 receptor (IC50: GLP-1 Gly8 [GG], 220+/-23 nM; GLP-1 Gly8 Ex (31-39), 74+/-11 nM). Observations of the cAMP response in an insulinoma cell line show a similar trend for biological activity.