The Influence of Peptide Context on Signaling and Trafficking of Glucagon-like Peptide‑1 Receptor Biased Agonists

Signal bias and membrane trafficking have recently emerged as important considerations in the therapeutic targeting of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) in type 2 diabetes and obesity. In the present study, we have evaluated a peptide series with varying sequence homology between native GLP-1 and exendin-4, the archetypal ligands on which approved GLP-1R agonists are based. We find notable differences in agonist-mediated cyclic AMP signaling, recruitment of β-arrestins, endocytosis, and recycling, dependent both on the introduction of a His → Phe switch at position 1 and the specific midpeptide helical regions and C-termini of the two agonists. These observations were linked to insulin secretion in a beta cell model and provide insights into how ligand factors influence GLP-1R function at the cellular level.