Identification of the Acyltransferase that Octanoylates Ghrelin, an Appetite-Stimulating Peptide Hormone

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Ghrelin is a 28 amino acid, appetite-stimulating peptide hormone secreted by the food-deprived stomach. Serine-3 of ghrelin is acylated with an eight-carbon fatty acid, octanoate, which is required for its endocrine actions. Here, we identify GOAT (Ghrelin O-Acyltransferase), a polytopic membrane-bound enzyme that attaches octanoate to serine-3 of ghrelin. Analysis of the mouse genome revealed that GOAT belongs to a family of 16 hydrophobic membrane-bound acyltransferases that includes Porcupine, which attaches long-chain fatty acids to Wnt proteins. GOAT is the only member of this family that octanoylates ghrelin when coexpressed in cultured endocrine cell lines with prepro-ghrelin. GOAT activity requires catalytic asparagine and histidine residues that are conserved in this family. Consistent with its function, GOAT mRNA is largely restricted to stomach and intestine, the major ghrelin-secreting tissues. Identification of GOAT will facilitate the search for inhibitors that reduce appetite and diminish obesity in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2008



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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