Peptide/Receptor Co-evolution Explains the Lipolytic Function of the Neuropeptide TLQP-21

Bhavani S. Sahu, Pedro Rodriguez, Megin E. Nguyen, Ruijun Han, Cheryl Cero, Maria Razzoli, Paolo Piaggi, Lauren J. Laskowski, Mihaela Pavlicev, Louis Muglia, Sushil K. Mahata, Scott O'Grady, John D. McCorvy, Leslie J. Baier, Yuk Y. Sham, Alessandro Bartolomucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Structural and functional diversity of peptides and GPCR result from long evolutionary processes. Even small changes in sequence can alter receptor activation, affecting therapeutic efficacy. We conducted a structure-function relationship study on the neuropeptide TLQP-21, a promising target for obesity, and its complement 3a receptor (C3aR1). After having characterized the TLQP-21/C3aR1 lipolytic mechanism, a homology modeling and molecular dynamics simulation identified the TLQP-21 binding motif and C3aR1 binding site for the human (h) and mouse (m) molecules. mTLQP-21 showed enhanced binding affinity and potency for hC3aR1 compared with hTLQP-21. Consistently, mTLQP-21, but not hTLQP-21, potentiates lipolysis in human adipocytes. These findings led us to uncover five mutations in the C3aR1 binding pocket of the rodent Murinae subfamily that are causal for enhanced calculated affinity and measured potency of TLQP-21. Identifying functionally relevant peptide/receptor co-evolution mechanisms can facilitate the development of innovative pharmacotherapies for obesity and other diseases implicating GPCRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2567-2580.e6
JournalCell reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 3 2019


  • VGF
  • drug discovery
  • granin peptides
  • innate immunity
  • lipolytic catecholamine resistance
  • obesity
  • transient receptor potential channel

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Peptide/Receptor Co-evolution Explains the Lipolytic Function of the Neuropeptide TLQP-21'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this