Nucleobindins and encoded peptides: From cell signaling to physiology

Adv Protein Chem Struct Biol. 2019:116:91-133. doi: 10.1016/bs.apcsb.2019.02.001. Epub 2019 Apr 17.


Nucleobindins (NUCBs) are DNA and calcium binding, secreted proteins with various signaling functions. Two NUCBs, nucleobindin-1 (NUCB1) and nucleobindin-2 (NUCB2), were discovered during the 1990s. These two peptides are shown to have diverse functions, including the regulation of inflammation and bone formation, among others. In 2006, Oh-I and colleagues discovered that three peptides encoded within the NUCB2 could be processed by prohormone convertases. These peptides were named nesfatin-1, 2 and 3, mainly due to the satiety and fat influencing properties of nesfatin-1. However, it was found that nesfatin-2 and -3 have no such effects. Nesfatin-1, especially its mid-segment, is very highly conserved across vertebrates. Although the receptor(s) that mediate nesfatin-1 effects are currently unknown, it is now considered an endogenous peptide with multiple functions, affecting central and peripheral tissues to regulate metabolism, reproduction, endocrine and other functions. We recently identified a nesfatin-1-like peptide (NLP) encoded within the NUCB1. Like nesfatin-1, NLP suppressed feed intake in mice and fish, and stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. There is considerable evidence available to indicate that nucleobindins and its encoded peptides are multifunctional regulators of cell biology and whole animal physiology. This review aims to briefly discuss the structure, distribution, functions and mechanism of action nucleobindins and encoded peptides.

Keywords: Cell signaling; Metabolism; Nesfatin-1; Nesfatin-1-like peptide; Nucleobindin-1; Nucleobindin-2; Physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleobindins / analysis
  • Nucleobindins / metabolism*
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Nucleobindins
  • Peptides
  • DNA
  • Calcium