Structure, regulation and function of ghrelin

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Ghrelin is a stomach hormone that acts as an endogenous ligand of orphan G-protein-coupled receptor. Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide existing in two major forms: n-octanoyl-modified ghrelin, which possesses an n-octanoyl modification on serine-3 and des-acyl ghrelin. Fatty acid modification of ghrelin is essential for ghrelin-induced growth hormone release from the pituitary and appetite stimulation. This acyl-modification of ghrelin is catalysed by ghrelin-O-acyl transferase recently identified. Despite the number of innovative advancements in this field of research, there are still many aspects of ghrelin function and biosynthesis process that remain to be clarified. Here, we review the current understanding of the structure, regulation and function of ghrelin; this review is intended for researchers who will be involved in this field in the future.

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