Glucose homeostasis, regulated by glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucagon (GCG) is critical to human health. Several multi-targeting agonists at GIPR, GLP-1R or GCGR, developed to maximize metabolic benefits with reduced side-effects, are in clinical trials to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which tirzepatide, a GIPR/GLP-1R dual agonist, and peptide 20, a GIPR/GLP-1R/GCGR triagonist, manifest their multiplexed pharmacological actions over monoagonists such as semaglutide, we determine cryo-electron microscopy structures of tirzepatide-bound GIPR and GLP-1R as well as peptide 20-bound GIPR, GLP-1R and GCGR. The structures reveal both common and unique features for the dual and triple agonism by illustrating key interactions of clinical relevance at the near-atomic level. Retention of glucagon function is required to achieve such an advantage over GLP-1 monotherapy. Our findings provide valuable insights into the structural basis of functional versatility of tirzepatide and peptide 20.
© 2022. The Author(s).