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Extension of Drosophila melanogaster life span with a GPCR peptide inhibitor


G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate signaling from extracellular ligands to intracellular signal transduction proteins1. Methuselah (Mth) is a class B (secretin-like) GPCR, a family typified by their large, ligand-binding, N-terminal extracellular domains2. Downregulation of mth increases the life span of Drosophila melanogaster3; inhibitors of Mth signaling should therefore enhance longevity. We used mRNA display selection4,5 to identify high-affinity (Kd = 15 to 30 nM) peptide ligands that bind to the N-terminal ectodomain of Mth. The selected peptides are potent antagonists of Mth signaling, and structural studies suggest that they perturb the interface between the Mth ecto- and transmembrane domains. Flies constitutively expressing a Mth antagonist peptide have a robust life span extension, which suggests that the peptides inhibit Mth signaling in vivo. Our work thus provides new life span–extending ligands for a metazoan and a general approach for the design of modulators of this important class of GPCRs.

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Figure 1: Selection of a 27-mer peptide library against the Mth ectodomain.
Figure 2: Structure of the Mth ectodomain in complex with the R8-01 15-mer peptide.
Figure 3: RWR motif peptides are antagonists of Mth signaling.
Figure 4: Expression of the Mth antagonist R8-12 peptide extends fly life span.

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We thank A.M. Giannetti for technical expertise on the Biacore; D.G. Myszka (University of Utah) for the SPR analysis software, Scrubber and CLAMP; M.I. Simon for use of the Flexstation automated fluorescence plate reader; T. Brummel and D. Walker for their technical expertise on the life span experiments; T.T. Takahashi and G.B. Carvalho for comments on the manuscript; and S. Cvejic and X.-Y. Huang (Cornell University Weill Medical College) for providing the HEK-Mth cell lines and details on their protocols. We are grateful to P.M. Snow (deceased, 2004) for his expertise in protein purification. This work was supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health (R01 GM60416 to R.W.R. and R01 AG016630 to S.B.) and the Beckman Foundation (R.W.R.). W.W.J. was supported in part by a US Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a Scholarship for Research in the Biology of Aging sponsored by the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and the American Federation for Aging Research, and a John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. A.P.W., Jr. was supported by a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

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Authors and Affiliations



W.W.J., A.P.W., Jr. and S.L.D. performed research; all authors designed research and discussed results; W.W.J., A.P.W., Jr., S.B. and R.W.R. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Richard W Roberts.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Fig. 1

Selected peptides recognize the full-length Methuselah receptor. (PDF 39 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 2

Amino acid analysis of selected peptides. (PDF 71 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 3

Peptide binding site is not localized to Methuselah Trp120. (PDF 56 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 4

Expression of R8-12 extends Drosophila lifespan. (PDF 127 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 5

Binding analysis of R8-04 to Methuselah by surface plasmon resonance. (PDF 62 kb)

Supplementary Table 1

Selected peptide sequences from Methuselah selection. (PDF 28 kb)

Supplementary Table 2

Crystallography data collection and refinement statistics. (PDF 34 kb)

Supplementary Methods (PDF 92 kb)

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Ja, W., West, A., Delker, S. et al. Extension of Drosophila melanogaster life span with a GPCR peptide inhibitor. Nat Chem Biol 3, 415–419 (2007).

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