The glucagon and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors play important, opposing roles in regulating blood glucose levels. Consequently, these receptors have been identified as targets for novel diabetes treatments. However, drugs acting at the GLP-1 receptor, although having clinical efficacy, have been associated with severe adverse side-effects, and targeting of the glucagon receptor has yet to be successful. Here we use a combination of yeast reporter assays and mammalian systems to provide a more complete understanding of glucagon receptor signaling, considering the effect of multiple ligands, association with the receptor-interacting protein receptor activity-modifying protein-2 (RAMP2), and the role of individual G protein α-subunits. We demonstrate that RAMP2 alters both ligand selectivity and G protein preference of the glucagon receptor. Importantly, we also uncover novel cross-reactivity of therapeutically used GLP-1 receptor ligands at the glucagon receptor that is abolished by RAMP2 interaction. This study reveals the glucagon receptor as a previously unidentified target for GLP-1 receptor agonists and highlights a role for RAMP2 in regulating its pharmacology. Such previously unrecognized functions of RAMPs highlight the need to consider all receptor-interacting proteins in future drug development.
Keywords: G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); glucagon; glucagon receptor; glucagon-like peptide-1; pharmacology; receptor activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs); signal bias; signal transduction; type 2 diabetes.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.