Identification of the Glucagon Receptor by Covalent Labeling with a Radiolabeled Photoreactive Glucagon Analogue

Catherine Demoliou-Mason, Richard M. Epand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The photoreactive 125I-labeled glucagon-NAPS [125I-labeled 2-[(2-nitro-4-azidophenyl)sulfenyl]-Trp25-glucagon] was used to label the glucagon receptor sites in rat liver plasma membranes. The proteins labeled were analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with or without reduction with dithiothreitol. The photoaffinity peptide specifically labeled a number of bands with apparent molecular weights >200000 and probably at least two protein bands in the molecular weight range 52000–70000. The relative amounts of radioactivity associated with these bands and their relative mobilities differed in samples from reduced and unreduced membranes. Their relative mobilities also differed with percent acrylamide cross-linking, suggesting a glycoprotein nature and the presence of intramolecular disulfide bonds. A nonspecifically labeled band with an apparent molecular weight of 27000–28000 also displayed a similar behavior. Photolabeling in the presence of 0.1 mM guanosine 5′-triphosphate (GTP) decreased the amount of radiolabeling of these bands, suggesting their involvement in the glucagon stimulation of adenylate cyclase. The photolabeled receptor in the membranes, solubilized with Lubrol-PX and fractionated on an Ultrogel AcA22 column, eluted with an apparent molecular weight of 200000–250000. Addition of GTP to the solubilized glucagon receptor of nonirradiated membranes caused complete dissociation of the complex. Gel electrophoresis of the partially purified radiolabeled receptor identified the same protein components observed in photolabeled membranes. These results indicate that the glucagon receptor is an oligomer probably composed of at least two different subunits that are linked together or greatly stabilized by disulfide bonds. They also show that 125I-labeled glucagon-NAPS can be used effectively to covalently label the putative glucagon receptor and thus aid in its further characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1996-2004
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1982


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