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Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a small incretin hormone stimulated by food intake, resulting in an amplification of the insulin response. Though interesting as a drug candidate for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, its short plasma half-life of less than 3 minutes limits its clinical use. A strategy to extend the half-life of GLP-1 utilizes the long half-life of human serum albumin (HSA) by combining the two via chemical conjugation or genetic fusion. HSA has a plasma half-life of around 21 days owing to its interaction with the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) expressed in endothelial cells of blood vessels, which rescues circulating HSA from lysosomal degradation. We have conjugated GLP-1 to C34 of native sequence recombinant HSA (rHSA) and two rHSA variants; one with increased and one with decreased binding affinity to hFcRn. We have investigated the impact of conjugation on FcRn binding affinities, GLP-1 potency and pharmacokinetics, combined with the solution structure of the rHSA variants and GLP-1 albumin conjugates. The solution structures, determined by small angle X-ray scattering, show the GLP-1 pointing away from the surface of rHSA. Combining the solution structures with the available structural information on the FcRn and GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) obtained from X-ray crystallography, we can explain the observed in-vitro and in-vivo behaviour. We conclude that the conjugation of GLP-1 to rHSA does not affect the interaction between rHSA and FcRn, while the observed decrease in the potency of GLP-1 can be explained by a steric hindrance of GLP-1 binding to its receptor.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number36
Pages (from-to)4860-4870
StatePublished - 2017
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 1
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ID: 134791678