Ghrelin O-Acyltransferase Assays and Inhibition

Department of Pharmacology & Molecular Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Methods in enzymology (Impact Factor: 2.09). 09/2012; 514:205-28. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-381272-8.00013-1
Source: PubMed


Ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) is responsible for catalyzing the attachment of the eight-carbon fatty acid octanoyl to the Ser3 side chain of the peptide ghrelin to generate the active form of this metabolic hormone. As such, GOAT is viewed as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity and diabetes mellitus. Here, we review recent progress in the development of cell and in vitro assays to measure GOAT action and the identification of several synthetic GOAT inhibitors. In particular, we discuss the design, synthesis, and characterization of the bisubstrate analog GO-CoA-Tat and its ability to modulate weight and blood glucose in mice. We also highlight current challenges and future research directions in our biomedical understanding of this fascinating ghrelin processing enzyme.

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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin is a peptide hormone involved in regulation of appetite, glucose homeostasis, and a range of other physiological processes. Ghrelin requires a unique posttranslational modification, octanoylation of a serine side chain, to bind its cognate receptor to activate signaling. The enzyme that catalyzes this modification, ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT), is receiving increased interest as a potential drug target for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases proposed to be linked to ghrelin signaling. In this study, we report the development of a novel fluorescence-based assay for GOAT activity and the use of this assay to investigate GOAT inhibition and interactions underlying human GOAT (hGOAT) substrate selectivity. Using a series of mutations and chemical modifications of our fluorescent peptide substrate, we have identified specific groups on the first two amino acids of ghrelin that potentially contribute to ghrelin recognition by hGOAT. These data provide the first molecular-level information regarding interactions within the ghrelin-hGOAT complex. Defining the interactions used by hGOAT to bind and recognize ghrelin will provide insight into the structure of the hGOAT active site, aid in the design and optimization of targeted hGOAT inhibitors, and help to assess the possibility of novel hGOAT substrates beyond ghrelin.
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