Roles of acetylation and other post-translational modifications in melanocortin function and interactions with endorphins

Peptides. 2006 Feb;27(2):453-71. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2005.05.029. Epub 2005 Nov 8.


Phylogenetic, developmental, anatomic, and stimulus-specific variations in post-translational processing of POMC are well established. For melanocortins, the role of alpha-N-acetylation and the selective activities of alpha, beta, and gamma forms are of special interest. Acetylation may shift the predominant activity of POMC products between endorphinergic and melanocortinergic actions-which are often in opposition. This review addresses: (1) variations in POMC processing; (2) the influence of acetylation on the functional activity of alpha-MSH; (3) state- and stimulus-dependent effects on the proportional distribution of forms of melanocortins and endorphins; (4) divergent effects of alpha-MSH and beta-endorphin administration; (5) potential roles of beta- and gamma-MSH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Endorphins / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / metabolism
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / physiology*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Rats
  • alpha-MSH / metabolism*


  • Endorphins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • alpha-MSH
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin