Ghrelin receptor

Unless otherwise stated all data on this page refer to the human proteins. Gene information is provided for human (Hs), mouse (Mm) and rat (Rn).


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The ghrelin receptor (nomenclature as agreed by the NC-IUPHAR Subcommittee for the Ghrelin receptor [3]) 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 [11]. Alternative splicing results in the formation of a second peptide, [des-Gln14]ghrelin (GHRL, Q9UBU3) with equipotent biological activity [8]. A unique post-translational modification (octanoylation of Ser3, catalysed by ghrelin Ο-acyltransferase (MBOAT4, Q96T53) [17] 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 [10]. Structure activity studies showed the first five N-terminal amino acids to be the minimum required for binding [2], and receptor mutagenesis has indicated overlap of the ghrelin binding site with those for small molecule agonists and allosteric modulators of ghrelin (GHRL, Q9UBU3) function [6]. In cell systems, the ghrelin receptor is constitutively active [7], 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 [14].


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NC-IUPHAR subcommittee and family contributors

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How to cite this family page

Database page citation:

Birgitte Holst, Bjørn B Sivertsen, Anthony P. Davenport, Matthias Kleinz, Janet J. Maguire. Ghrelin receptor. Accessed on 27/07/2016. IUPHAR/BPS Guide to PHARMACOLOGY,

Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY citation:

Alexander SPH, Davenport AP, Kelly E, Marrion N, Peters JA, Benson HE, Faccenda E, Pawson AJ, Sharman JL, Southan C, Davies JA and CGTP Collaborators (2015) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2015/16: G protein-coupled receptors. Br J Pharmacol. 172: 5744-5869.