Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone with essential roles in regulating insulin secretion, carbohydrate metabolism and appetite. GLP-1 effects are mediated through binding to the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R), a class B G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that signals primarily through the stimulatory G protein Gs. Class B GPCRs are important therapeutic targets; however, our understanding of their mechanism of action is limited by the lack of structural information on activated and full-length receptors. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of the peptide-activated GLP-1R-Gs complex at near atomic resolution. The peptide is clasped between the N-terminal domain and the transmembrane core of the receptor, and further stabilized by extracellular loops. Conformational changes in the transmembrane domain result in a sharp kink in the middle of transmembrane helix 6, which pivots its intracellular half outward to accommodate the α5-helix of the Ras-like domain of Gs. These results provide a structural framework for understanding class B GPCR activation through hormone binding.
The structure of the GLP-1 receptor complexed with its ligand offers insight into the mechanism of class B G-protein-coupled receptor activation.