pI-shifted insulin analogs with extended in vivo time action and favorable receptor selectivity

Peptides. 2007 Apr;28(4):935-48. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2007.01.012. Epub 2007 Jan 25.


A long-acting (basal) insulin capable of delivering flat, sustained, reproducible glycemic control with once daily administration represents an improvement in the treatment paradigm for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Optimization of insulin pharmacodynamics is achievable through structural modification, but often at the expense of alterations in receptor affinity and selectivity. A series of isoelectric point (pI)-shifted insulin analogs based on the human insulin sequence or the GlyA21 acid stable variant were prepared by semi-synthetic methods. The pI shift was achieved through systematic addition of one or more arginine (Arg) or lysine (Lys) residues at the N terminus of the A chain, the N terminus of the B chain, the C terminus of the B chain, or through a combination of additions at two of the three sites. The analogs were evaluated for their affinity for the insulin and IGF-1 receptors, and aqueous solubility under physiological pH conditions. Notably, the presence of positively charged amino acid residues at the N terminus of the A chain was consistently associated with an enhanced insulin to IGF-1 receptor selectivity profile. Increased IGF-1 receptor affinity that results from Arg addition to the C terminus of the B chain was attenuated by cationic extension at the N terminus of the A chain. Analogs 10, 17, and 18 displayed in vitro receptor selectivity similar to that of native insulin and solubility at physiological pH that suggested the potential for extended time action. Accordingly, the in vivo pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of these analogs were established in a somatostatin-induced diabetic dog model. Analog 18 (A0:Arg, A21:Gly, B31:Arg, B32:Arg human insulin) exhibited a pharmacological profile comparable to that of analog 15 (insulin glargine) but with a 4.5-fold more favorable insulin:IGF-1 receptor selectivity. These results demonstrate that the selective combination of positive charge to the N terminus of the A chain and the C terminus of the B chain generates an insulin with sustained pharmacology and a near-native receptor selectivity profile.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Arginine / chemistry
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives
  • Insulin / pharmacokinetics
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Isoelectric Point
  • Lysine / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / agonists*
  • Receptor, Insulin / agonists*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Arginine
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • Lysine