International Union of Pharmacology. LVI. Ghrelin receptor nomenclature, distribution, and function

Pharmacol Rev. 2005 Dec;57(4):541-6. doi: 10.1124/pr.57.4.1.


Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide originally isolated from rat stomach and is cleaved from a 117-amino acid precursor. The sequence of the mature peptide from rats and mice differs by two amino acids from that of human ghrelin. Alternative splicing of the ghrelin gene transcript can result in the translation of a second biologically active peptide, des-Gln14-ghrelin. Both peptides have a unique post-translational modification, octanoylation of Ser3, which is essential for the binding to receptors in hypothalamus and pituitary and stimulating the release of growth hormone from the pituitary. The growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R1a, Swiss-Prot code Q92847, LocusLink ID 2693), a rhodopsin-like seven transmembrane spanning G protein-coupled receptors belonging to Family A, was cloned in 1996 from the pituitary and hypothalamus and shown to be the target of growth hormone secretagogues (GHS), a class of synthetic peptide and nonpeptide compounds causing growth hormone release from the anterior pituitary. In 1999, ghrelin was identified as the endogenous cognate ligand for this receptor. The purpose of this review is to propose an official International Union of Pharmacology Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification (NC-IUPHAR) nomenclature designating GHS-R1a as the ghrelin receptor to follow the convention of naming receptors after the endogenous agonist, abbreviated where necessary to GRLN.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / classification
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / drug effects
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*
  • Receptors, Ghrelin
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Ghrelin

Associated data

  • SWISSPROT/Q92847