Discordance between GLP-1R gene and protein expression in mouse pancreatic islet cells.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The insulinotropic actions of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) in β-cells have made it a useful target to manage type 2 diabetes. Metabolic stress reduces β-cell sensitivity to GLP-1, yet the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesized that Glp1r expression is heterogeneous among β-cells and that metabolic stress decreases the number of GLP-1R-positive β-cells. Here, analyses of publicly available single-cell RNA-Seq sequencing (scRNASeq) data from mouse and human β-cells indicated that significant populations of β-cells do not express the Glp1r gene, supporting heterogeneous GLP-1R expression. To check these results, we used complementary approaches employing FACS coupled with quantitative RT-PCR, a validated GLP-1R antibody, and flow cytometry to quantify GLP-1R promoter activity, gene expression, and protein expression in mouse α-, β-, and δ-cells. Experiments with Glp1r reporter mice and a validated GLP-1R antibody indicated that >90% of the β-cells are GLP-1R positive, contradicting the findings with the scRNASeq data. α-cells did not express Glp1r mRNA and δ-cells expressed Glp1r mRNA but not protein. We also examined the expression patterns of GLP-1R in mouse models of metabolic stress. Multiparous female mice had significantly decreased β-cell Glp1r expression, but no reduction in GLP-1R protein levels or GLP-1R-mediated insulin secretion. These findings suggest caution in interpreting the results of scRNASeq for low-abundance transcripts such as the incretin receptors and indicate that GLP-1R is widely expressed in β-cells, absent in α-cells, and expressed at the mRNA, but not protein, level in δ-cells.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gray, SM; Xin, Y; Ross, EC; Chazotte, BM; Capozzi, ME; El, K; Svendsen, B; Ravn, P; Sloop, KW; Tong, J; Gromada, J; Campbell, JE; D'Alessio, DA

Published Date

  • August 14, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 295 / 33

Start / End Page

  • 11529 - 11541

PubMed ID

  • 32554468

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7450118

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1083-351X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1074/jbc.RA120.014368


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States