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β-Arrestin Recruitment and Biased Agonism at Free Fatty Acid Receptor 1.

Mancini AD, Bertrand G, Vivot K, Carpentier É, Tremblay C, Ghislain J, Bouvier M, Poitout V

From the Montreal Diabetes Research Center, Research Center of the University of Montreal Hospital Center (CRCHUM), and Department of Medicine, University of Montreal, Quebec H2X 0A9, Canada.

FFAR1/GPR40 is a seven-transmembrane domain receptor (7TMR) expressed in pancreatic β cells and activated by FFAs. Pharmacological activation of GPR40 is a strategy under consideration to increase insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes. GPR40 is known to signal predominantly via the heterotrimeric G proteins Gq/11. However, 7TMRs can also activate functionally distinct G protein-independent signaling via β-arrestins. Further, G protein- and β-arrestin-based signaling can be differentially modulated by different ligands, thus eliciting ligand-specific responses ("biased agonism"). Whether GPR40 engages β-arrestin-dependent mechanisms and is subject to biased agonism is unknown. Using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer-based biosensors for real-time monitoring of cell signaling in living cells, we detected a ligand-induced GPR40-β-arrestin interaction, with the synthetic GPR40 agonist TAK-875 being more effective than palmitate or oleate in recruiting β-arrestins 1 and 2. Conversely, TAK-875 acted as a partial agonist of Gq/11-dependent GPR40 signaling relative to both FFAs. Pharmacological blockade of Gq activity decreased FFA-induced insulin secretion. In contrast, knockdown or genetic ablation of β-arrestin 2 in an insulin-secreting cell line and mouse pancreatic islets, respectively, uniquely attenuated the insulinotropic activity of TAK-875, thus providing functional validation of the biosensor data. Collectively, these data reveal that in addition to coupling to Gq/11, GPR40 is functionally linked to a β-arrestin 2-mediated insulinotropic signaling axis. These observations expose previously unrecognized complexity for GPR40 signal transduction and may guide the development of biased agonists showing improved clinical profile in type 2 diabetes.

J. Biol. Chem. 2015;290(34):21131-40.

Pubmed ID: 26157145

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