Agonist-biased signaling at the sst2A receptor: the multi-somatostatin analogs KE108 and SOM230 activate and antagonize distinct signaling pathways

Mol Endocrinol. 2010 Jan;24(1):240-9. doi: 10.1210/me.2009-0321. Epub 2009 Nov 12.


Somatostatin analogs that activate the somatostatin subtype 2A (sst2A) receptor are used to treat neuroendocrine cancers because they inhibit tumor secretion and growth. Recently, new analogs capable of activating multiple somatostatin receptor subtypes have been developed to increase tumor responsiveness. We tested two such multi-somatostatin analogs for functional selectivity at the sst2A receptor: SOM230, which activates sst1, sst2, sst3, and sst5 receptors, and KE108, which activates all sst receptor subtypes. Both compounds are reported to act as full agonists at their target sst receptors. In sst2A-expressing HEK293 cells, somatostatin inhibited cAMP production, stimulated intracellular calcium accumulation, and increased ERK phosphorylation. SOM230 and KE108 were also potent inhibitors of cAMP accumulation, as expected. However, they antagonized somatostatin stimulation of intracellular calcium and behaved as partial agonists/antagonists for ERK phosphorylation. In pancreatic AR42J cells, which express sst2A receptors endogenously, SOM230 and KE108 were both full agonists for cAMP inhibition. However, although somatostatin increased intracellular calcium and ERK phosphorylation, SOM230 and KE108 again antagonized these effects. Distinct mechanisms were involved in sst2A receptor signaling in AR42J cells; pertussis toxin pretreatment blocked somatostatin inhibition of cAMP accumulation but not the stimulation of intracellular calcium and ERK phosphorylation. Our results demonstrate that SOM230 and KE108 behave as agonists for inhibition of adenylyl cyclase but antagonize somatostatin's actions on intracellular calcium and ERK phosphorylation. Thus, SOM230 and KE108 are not somatostatin mimics, and their functional selectivity at sst2A receptors must be considered in clinical applications where it may have important consequences for therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Hormone Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Peptides, Cyclic / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Isoforms / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / genetics
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Somatostatin / agonists
  • Somatostatin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Somatostatin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Somatostatin / pharmacology
  • Somatostatin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Somatostatin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Tyr(0)-(cyclo-D-Dab-Arg-Phe-Phe-D-Trp-Lys-Thr-Phe)
  • somatostatin receptor sst2A
  • Somatostatin
  • pasireotide
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Adenylyl Cyclases