Apelin receptor (APJ) is a G protein-coupled receptor that contributes to many physiological processes and is emerging as a therapeutic target to treat a variety of diseases. For most disease indications the role of G protein vs β-arrestin signalling in mitigating disease pathophysiology remains poorly understood. This hinders the development of G protein biased APJ agonists, which have been proposed to have several advantages over balanced APJ signalling agonists. To elucidate the contribution of APJ β-arrestin signalling, we generated a transgenic mouse harbouring a point mutation (APJ I107A) that maintains full G protein activity but fails to recruit β-arrestin following receptor activation. APJ I107A mutant mice did not alter cardiac function at rest, following exercise challenge or in response to pressure overload induced cardiac hypertrophy. Additionally, APJ I107A mice have comparable body weights, plasma glucose and lipid levels relative to WT mice when fed a chow diet. However, APJ I107A mice showed significantly lower body weight, blood insulin levels, improved glucose tolerance and greater insulin sensitivity when fed a high-fat diet. Furthermore, loss of APJ β-arrestin signalling also affected fat composition and the expression of lipid metabolism related genes in adipose tissue from high-fat fed mice. Taken together, our results suggest that G protein biased APJ activation may be more effective for certain disease indications given that loss of APJ mediated β-arrestin signalling appears to mitigate several aspects of diet induced metabolic dysfunction.

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