Thomas Daugbjerg Madsen
2200 København N.
At the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics I investigate our surprising finding that a large amount of well-studied peptide hormones can get glycosylated in the body. Due to their important roles in maintaining the homeostasis of the body, peptide hormones are used widely to treat various diseases such as diabetes and dwarfism. This raises the questions of 1) what endogenous roles does these glycans play in regulating the many physiological processes that are controlled by different peptide hormones? And 2) can the glycosylated peptide hormones serve as improved drugs compared to the non-glycosylated versions currently in use where low half-life is a major issue?
During our initial work, we identified glycans on one third of known peptide hormones using our sensitive mass spectrometry on bio sources known to contain peptide hormones such as the pancreas. This list includes well studied examples such as insulin that is the master regulator of blood-glucose levels and Islet amyloid polypeptide that serve to induce satiety among other functions.
So far our data suggest that the glycovariants are less potent, but longer circulating versions of the respective non-glycosylated peptide hormone. The next steps in my research will then be to 1) investigate when the peptide hormones are glycosylated in biological settings, and 2) investigate if these longer circulating glycopeptide hormones have extended effect in animal-models when comparing to their non-glycosylated counterparts.