IUPHAR/BPS Guide to Pharmacology CITE

Ghrelin receptor (version 2019.4) in the IUPHAR/BPS Guide to Pharmacology Database

Anthony P. Davenport1, Birgitte Holst2, Matthias Kleinz1, Janet J. Maguire1 and Bjørn B. Sivertsen2
  1. University of Cambridge, UK
  2. University of Copenhagen, Denmark


The ghrelin receptor (nomenclature as agreed by the NC-IUPHAR Subcommittee for the Ghrelin receptor [18]) is activated by a 28 amino-acid peptide originally isolated from rat stomach, where it is cleaved from a 117 amino-acid precursor (GHRL, Q9UBU3). The human gene encoding the precursor peptide has 83% sequence homology to rat prepro-ghrelin, although the mature peptides from rat and human differ by only two amino acids [70]. Alternative splicing results in the formation of a second peptide, [des-Gln14]ghrelin with equipotent biological activity [48]. A unique post-translational modification (octanoylation of Ser3, catalysed by ghrelin Ο-acyltransferase (MBOAT4, Q96T53) [127] occurs in both peptides, essential for full activity in binding to ghrelin receptors in the hypothalamus and pituitary, and for the release of growth hormone from the pituitary [56]. Structure activity studies showed the first five N-terminal amino acids to be the minimum required for binding [4], and receptor mutagenesis has indicated overlap of the ghrelin binding site with those for small molecule agonists and allosteric modulators of ghrelin function [43]. In cell systems, the ghrelin receptor is constitutively active [44], but this is abolished by a naturally occurring mutation (A204E) that results in decreased cell surface receptor expression and is associated with familial short stature [88].


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Ghrelin receptor
Introduction to Ghrelin receptor
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