CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing demonstrates metabolic importance of GPR55 in the modulation of GIP release and pancreatic beta cell function

Andrew G. McCloskey, Michael G. Miskelly, Tara C. B. Moore, M. Andrew Nesbit, Kathleen Christie, Adeoluwa Owolabi, PR Flatt, Aine McKillop

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G-protein coupled receptor-55 (GPR55), an endocannabinoid receptor, is a novel anti-diabetic target. This study aimed to assess the metabolic functionality of GPR55 ligands using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to determine their regulatory role in beta cell function and incretin-secreting enteroendocrine cells. A clonal Gpr55 knockout beta cell line was generated by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to investigate insulin secretion and Gpr55 signalling. Acute effects of GPR55 agonists were investigated in high fat fed (HFD) diabetic HsdOla:TO (Swiss TO) mice. Atypical and endogenous endocannabinoid ligands (10-7-10-4M) stimulated insulin secretion (p < 0.05-0.001) in rodent (BRIN-BD11) and human (1.1B4) beta cells, with 2-2.7-fold (p < 0.001) increase demonstrated in BRIN-BD11 cells (10-4M). The insulinotropic effect of Abn-CBD (42 %), AM251 (30 %) and PEA (53 %) were impaired (p < 0.05) in Gpr55 knockout BRIN-BD11 cells, with the secretory effect of O-1602 completely abolished (p < 0.001). Gpr55 ablation abolished the release of intracellular Ca2+ upon treatment with O-1602, Abn-CBD and PEA. Upregulation of insulin mRNA by Abn-CBD and AM251 (1.7-3-fold; p < 0.01) was greatly diminished (p < 0.001) in Gpr55 null cells. Orally administered Abn-CBD and AM251 (0.1 μmol/kgBW) improved GIP (p < 0.05-p < 0.01), GLP-1 (p < 0.05-p < 0.001), glucose tolerance (p < 0.001) and circulating insulin (p < 0.05-p < 0.001) in HFD diabetic mice. Abn-CBD in combination therapy with DPP-IV inhibitor (Sitagliptin) resulted in greater improvement in glucose tolerance (p < 0.05) and insulin release (p < 0.05). Antagonism of Gpr55 in-vivo attenuated the glucoregulatory effects of Abn-CBD (p < 0.05). Conclusively, GPR55 agonists enhance insulin, GIP and GLP-1 release, thereby promoting GPR55 agonist monotherapy and combinational therapy as a novel approach for the treatment of type-2-diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number170251
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Early online date7 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Mar 2020


  • Cannabinoid
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • GIP
  • GLP-1
  • GPR55
  • Insulin


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