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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of the prohormone convertase PC3 in the processing of proglucagon to glucagon-like peptide 1.

Proglucagon is processed differentially in pancreatic alpha-cells and intestinal endocrine L cells to release either glucagon or glucagon-like peptide-1-(7-36amide) (tGLP-1), two peptide hormones with opposing biological actions. Previous studies have demonstrated that the prohormone convertase PC2 is responsible for the processing of proglucagon to glucagon, and have suggested that the related endoprotease PC3 is involved in the formation of tGLP-1. To understand better the biosynthetic pathway of tGLP-1, proglucagon processing was studied in the mouse pituitary cell line AtT-20, a cell line that mimics the intestinal pathway of proglucagon processing and in the rat insulinoma cell line INS-1. In both of these cell lines, proglucagon was initially cleaved to glicentin and the major proglucagon fragment (MPGF) at the interdomain site Lys70-Arg71. In both cell lines, MPGF was cleaved successively at the monobasic site Arg77 and then at the dibasic site Arg109-Arg110, thus releasing tGLP-1, the cleavages being less extensive in INS-1 cells. Glicentin was completely processed to glucagon in INS-1 cells, but was partially converted to oxyntomodulin and very low levels of glucagon in AtT-20 cells in the face of generation of tGLP-1. Adenovirus-mediated co-expression of PC3 and proglucagon in GH4C1 cells (normally expressing no PC2 or PC3) resulted in the formation of tGLP-1, glicentin, and oxyntomodulin, but no glucagon. When expressed in alphaTC1-6 (transformed pancreatic alpha-cells) or in rat primary pancreatic alpha-cells in culture, PC3 converted MPGF to tGLP-1. Finally, GLP-1-(1-37) was cleaved to tGLP-1 in vitro by purified recombinant PC3. Taken together, these results indicate that PC3 has the same specificity as the convertase that is responsible for the processing of proglucagon to tGLP-1, glicentin and oxyntomodulin in the intestinal L cell, and it is concluded that this enzyme is thus able to act alone in this processing pathway.[1]


  1. Role of the prohormone convertase PC3 in the processing of proglucagon to glucagon-like peptide 1. Rouillé, Y., Kantengwa, S., Irminger, J.C., Halban, P.A. J. Biol. Chem. (1997) [Pubmed]
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