Agouti-related protein (AGRP) is one of only two known endogenous antagonists of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Specifically, AGRP antagonizes the brain melanocortin-3 and -4 receptors involved in energy homeostasis, regulation of feeding behavior, and obesity. α-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is one of the known endogenous agonists for these receptors. It has been hypothesized that the Arg-Phe-Phe (111-113) human AGRP amino acids may be mimicking the melanocortin agonist Phe-Arg-Trp (7-9) residue interactions with the melanocortin receptors that are important for both receptor molecular recognition and stimulation. To test this hypothesis, we generated thirteen chimeric peptide ligands based upon the melanocortin agonist peptides NDP-MSH (Ac-Ser-Tyr-Ser-Nle4-Glu-His-DPhe-Arg-Trp- Gly-Lys-Pro-Val-NH2) and MTII (Ac-Nle-c[Asp-His-DPhe-Arg-Trp-Lys]- NH2). In these chimeric ligands, the agonist DPhe-Arg-Trp amino acids were replaced by the AGRP Arg-Phe-Phe residues, and resulted in agonist activity at the mouse melanocortin receptors (mMC1R and mMC3-5Rs), supporting the hypothesis that the AGRP antagonist ligand Arg-Phe-Phe residues mimic the agonist Phe-Arg-Trp amino acids. Interestingly, the Ac-Ser-Tyr-Ser-Nle 4-Glu-His-Arg-DPhe-Phe-Gly-Lys-Pro-Val-NH2 peptide possessed 7nM mMC1R agonist potency, and is 850-fold selective for the mMC1R versus the mMC3R, 2300-fold selective for the mMC1R versus the mMC4R, and 60-fold selective for the MC1R versus the mMC5R, resulting in the discovery of a new peptide template for the design of melanocortin receptor selective ligands.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work has been funded by NIH Grants DK57080, DK64250 and a University of Florida Opportunity Fund Grant. Carrie Haskell-Luevano is a recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences and an American Diabetes Association Research Award.
- Agouti-related protein