Murine GPRC6A Mediates Cellular Responses to L-Amino Acids, but Not Osteocalcin Variants

PLoS One. 2016 Jan 19;11(1):e0146846. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146846. eCollection 2016.


Phenotyping of Gprc6a KO mice has shown that this promiscuous class C G protein coupled receptor is variously involved in regulation of metabolism, inflammation and endocrine function. Such effects are described as mediated by extracellular calcium, L-amino acids, the bone-derived peptide osteocalcin (OCN) and the male hormone testosterone, introducing the concept of a bone-energy-metabolism-reproduction functional crosstalk mediated by GPRC6A. However, whilst the calcium and L-amino acid-sensing properties of GPRC6A are well established, verification of activity of osteocalcin at both human and mouse GPRC6A in vitro has proven somewhat elusive. This study characterises the in vitro pharmacology of mouse GPRC6A in response to its putative ligands in both recombinant and endogenous GPRC6A-expressing cells. Using cell signalling, and glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and insulin release assays, our results confirm that basic L-amino acids act as agonists of the murine GPRC6A receptor in both recombinant cells and immortalised entero-endocrine and pancreatic β-cells. In contrast, our studies do not support a role for OCN as a direct ligand for mouse GPRC6A, suggesting that the reported in vivo effects of OCN that require GPRC6A may be indirect, rather than via direct activation of the receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Osteocalcin / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • GPRC6A protein, mouse
  • Insulin
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Osteocalcin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1

Grant support

Servier provided support in the form of salaries for EH, BC, M-HR, IW, AG, GL and provided research support to Monash University to fund salaries for PR, YL, GDS, SF, ND and CJL. However, Servier did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. AC and PMS are NHMRC Principal Research Fellows.