Mammalian glucagon is thought to be highly conserved. Glucagons from pig, cow, human, rat, and hamster have identical amino acid sequences, whereas the amino acid contents of rabbit and camel glucagons are consistent with this 29-amino acid sequence. It had earlier been reported that guinea pig (GP) glucagon contains 40 amino acids. In the current study, glucagon was purified from two GP pancreata by a series of three HPLC steps after acid-alcohol extraction and acetone precipitation. GP glucagon is a 29-amino acid peptide that differs from other mammalian glucagons by substitution of Gin for Asp in position 21, Leu for Val in position 23, Lys for Gin in position 24, Leu for Met in position 27, and Val for Thr in position 29. In view of the marked changes in the COOH-terminal of GP glucagon, receptor binding studies were performed using both rat and GP liver membranes. Labeled synthetic porcine glucagon has similar binding in the two systems and its binding is inhibited to a similar degree by synthetic porcine glucagon, whereas GP glucagon is 10-fold less potent at inhibiting binding in both systems. This suggests that glucagon receptor binding sites in the GP are evolutionarily more conserved than is GP glucagon.

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