Molecular Signature for Receptor Engagement in the Metabolic Peptide Hormone Amylin

Rebekah L. Bower, Lauren Yule, Tayla A. Rees, Giuseppe Deganutti, Erica R. Hendrikse, Paul W.R. Harris, Renata Kowalczyk, Zachary Ridgway, Amy G. Wong, Katarzyna Swierkula, Daniel P. Raleigh, Augen A. Pioszak, Margaret A. Brimble, Christopher A. Reynolds, Christopher S. Walker, Debbie L. Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The pancreatic peptide hormone, amylin, plays a critical role in the control of appetite, and synergizes with other key metabolic hormones such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). There is opportunity to develop potent and long-acting analogues of amylin or hybrids between these and GLP-1 mimetics for treating obesity. To achieve this, interrogation of how the 37 amino acid amylin peptide engages with its complex receptor system is required. We synthesized an extensive library of peptides to profile the human amylin sequence, determining the role of its disulfide loop, amidated C-terminus and receptor "capture" and "activation" regions in receptor signaling. We profiled four signaling pathways with different ligands at multiple receptor subtypes, in addition to exploring selectivity determinants between related receptors. Distinct roles for peptide subregions in receptor binding and activation were identified, resulting in peptides with greater activity than the native sequence. Enhanced peptide activity was preserved in the brainstem, the major biological target for amylin. Interpretation of our data using full-length active receptor models supported by molecular dynamics, metadynamics, and supervised molecular dynamics simulations guided the synthesis of a potent dual agonist of GLP-1 and amylin receptors. The data offer new insights into the function of peptide amidation, how allostery drives peptide-receptor interactions, and provide a valuable resource for the development of novel amylin agonists for treating diabetes and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-49
Number of pages18
JournalACS Pharmacology and Translational Science
Issue number1
Early online date23 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • amylin
  • calcitonin receptor
  • CGRP
  • GPCR
  • IAPP
  • RAMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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