The agouti-related protein (AGRP) is an endogenous antagonist of the brain melanocortin receptors (MC3R and MC4R) and is believed to be involved in feeding behavior and energy homeostasis. Previous results identified that the human AGRP decapeptide Yc[CRFFNAFC]Y binds to the MC3R and MC4R and acts as an antagonist at the MC4R but not at the MC3R. We have synthesized the amidated version of this decapeptide as well as performed elongation studies at both the N-and C-terminus of the monocyclic hAGRP(109-118) peptide. This study was designed to identify monocyclic peptide fragments of the hAGRP(86-132) to determine the minimal active monocyclic sequence necessary for antagonism at the MC3R. For binding studies, radiolabeled 125I-NDP-MSH versus 125I-hAGRP(86-132) were utilized to determine if there were differences in the ability of the AGRP fragments prepared herein to competitively displace the 125I-NDP-MSH versus AGRP(86-132) radiolabel. The binding IC50 values of radiolabeled hAGRP(86-132) versus NDP-MSH were identical within experimental error, supporting the hypothesis that AGRP and NDP-MSH interact with overlapping binding epitopes at the MC3R and MC4R. The most notable results include identification of the TAYc[CRFFNAFC]YAR-NH2 (pA2=6.1, Ki=790nM, mMC3R) and the Yc[CRFFNAFC]YARKL-NH2 (pA2=6.2, Ki=630nM, mMC3R) peptides as the minimal monocyclic AGRP-based fragments possessing antagonist pharmacology at the MC3R. Interestingly, extension of the AGRP(109-118) decapeptide at both the N- and C-terminus by two amino acids conferred detectable mMC3R antagonism, while retaining high nanomolar MC4R antagonist and micromolar MC1R agonist pharmacological properties. These data support the hypothesis that elongation of the hAGRP(109-118) decapeptide results in antagonism at the MC3R while retaining MC1R agonist activity and MC4R antagonist activity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work has been supported by NIH Grant RO1-DK57080. Carrie Haskell-Luevano is a recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences. We appreciate the contribution from Dr. Glenn Millhauser, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for his insightful structural perspective and analysis of the peptides reported herein.
- Agouti-related protein
- α-Melanocyte stimulating hormone