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Peptides. 2011 Nov;32(11):2301-8. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2011.08.020. Epub 2011 Aug 27.

Ghrelin acylation and metabolic control.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Metabolic Diseases Institute, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45237, USA.


Since its discovery, many physiologic functions have been ascribed to ghrelin, a gut derived hormone. The presence of a median fatty acid side chain on the ghrelin peptide is required for the binding and activation of the classical ghrelin receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR)-1a. Ghrelin O-acyl transferase (GOAT) was recently discovered as the enzyme responsible for this acylation process. GOAT is expressed in all tissues that have been found to express ghrelin and has demonstrated actions on several complex endocrine organ systems such as the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal, insular and adrenal axis as well as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, bone and gustatory system. Ghrelin acylation is dependent on the function of GOAT and the availability of substrates such as proghrelin and short- to medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). This process is governed by GOAT activity and has been shown to be modified by dietary lipids. In this review, we provided evidence that support an important role of GOAT in the regulation of energy homeostasis and glucose metabolism by modulating acyl ghrelin (AG) production. The relevance of GOAT and AG during periods of starvation remains to be defined. In addition, we summarized the recent literature on the metabolic effects of GOAT specific inhibitors and shared our view on the potential of targeting GOAT for the treatment of metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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