From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Aliases POMC, ACTH, CLIP, LPH, MSH, NPP, POC, proopiomelanocortin
External IDs OMIM: 176830 MGI: 97742 HomoloGene: 723 GeneCards: 5443
RNA expression pattern
PBB GE POMC 205720 at tn.png
More reference expression data
Species Human Mouse
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 2: 25.16 – 25.17 Mb Chr 12: 3.95 – 3.96 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]
View/Edit Human View/Edit Mouse
Opioids neuropeptide
Symbol Op_neuropeptide
Pfam PF08035
InterPro IPR013532

Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) is a precursor polypeptide with 241 amino acid residues. POMC is synthesized in the pituitary from the 285-amino-acid-long polypeptide precursor pre-pro-opiomelanocortin (pre-POMC), by the removal of a 44-amino-acid-long signal peptide sequence during translation.


POMC is cleaved to give rise to multiple peptide hormones. Each of these peptides is packaged in large dense-core vesicles that are released from the cells by exocytosis in response to appropriate stimulation:


The POMC gene is located on chromosome 2p23.3. The POMC gene is expressed in both the anterior and intermediate lobes of the pituitary gland. This gene encodes a 285-amino acid polypeptide hormone precursor that undergoes extensive, tissue-specific, post-translational processing via cleavage by subtilisin-like enzymes known as prohormone convertases. The encoded protein is synthesized mainly in corticotroph cells of the anterior pituitary, where four cleavage sites are used; adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH), essential for normal steroidogenesis and the maintenance of normal adrenal weight, and β-lipotropin are the major end-products. However, there are at least eight potential cleavage sites within the polypeptide precursor and, depending on tissue type and the available convertases, processing may yield as many as ten biologically active peptides involved in diverse cellular functions. Cleavage sites consist of the sequences Arg-Lys, Lys-Arg, or Lys-Lys. Enzymes responsible for processing of POMC peptides include prohormone convertase 1 (PC1), prohormone convertase 2 (PC2), carboxypeptidase E (CPE), peptidyl α-amidating monooxygenase (PAM), N-acetyltransferase (N-AT), and prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP).

The processing of POMC involves glycosylations, acetylations, and extensive proteolytic cleavage at sites shown to contain regions of basic protein sequences. However, the proteases that recognize these cleavage sites are tissue-specific. In some tissues, including the hypothalamus, placenta, and epithelium, all cleavage sites may be used, giving rise to peptides with roles in pain and energy homeostasis, melanocyte stimulation, and immune modulation. These include several distinct melanotropins, lipotropins, and endorphins that are contained within the adrenocorticotrophin and β-lipotropin peptides.

It is synthesized by:


proopiomelanocortin derivatives
γ-MSH ACTH β-lipotropin
  α-MSH CLIP γ-lipotropin β-endorphin

The large molecule of POMC is the source of several important biologically active substances. POMC can be cleaved enzymatically into the following peptides:

Although the N-terminal 5 amino acids of β-endorphin are identical to the sequence of [Met]enkephalin, it is not generally thought that β-endorphin is converted into [Met]enkephalin.[citation needed] Instead, [Met]enkephalin is produced from its own precursor, proenkephalin A.

The production of β-MSH occurs in humans but not in mice or rats due to the absence of the enzymatic processing site in the rodent POMC.

Clinical significance[edit]

Mutations in this gene have been associated with early onset obesity,[4] adrenal insufficiency, and red hair pigmentation.[5]


A deletion mutation common in Labrador Retriever and Flat-Coated Retriever dogs is associated with increased interest in food and subsequent obesity.[6]

Drug target[edit]

Two humans with POMC deficiency have been treated with setmelanotide, a melanocortin-4 receptor agonist.[7]


Proopiomelanocortin has been shown to interact with melanocortin 4 receptor.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Human PubMed Reference:". 
  2. ^ "Mouse PubMed Reference:". 
  3. ^ Cowley MA, Smart JL, Rubinstein M, Cerdán MG, Diano S, Horvath TL, Cone RD, Low MJ (May 2001). "Leptin activates anorexigenic POMC neurons through a neural network in the arcuate nucleus". Nature. 411 (6836): 480–4. doi:10.1038/35078085. PMID 11373681. 
  4. ^ Kuehnen P, Mischke M, Wiegand S, Sers C, Horsthemke B, Lau S, Keil T, Lee YA, Grueters A, Krude H (2012). "An Alu element-associated hypermethylation variant of the POMC gene is associated with childhood obesity". PLoS Genet. 8 (3): e1002543. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002543. PMC 3305357free to read. PMID 22438814. 
  5. ^ "Entrez Gene: POMC proopiomelanocortin (adrenocorticotropin/ beta-lipotropin/ alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone/ beta-melanocyte stimulating hormone/ beta-endorphin)". 
  6. ^ Raffan E, Dennis RJ, O'Donovan CJ, Becker JM, Scott RA, Smith SP, Withers DJ, Wood CJ, Conci E, Clements DN, Summers KM, German AJ, Mellersh CS, Arendt ML, Iyemere VP, Withers E, Söder J, Wernersson S, Andersson G, Lindblad-Toh K, Yeo GS, O'Rahilly S (May 2016). "A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene Is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs". Cell Metabolism. 23 (5): 893–900. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.012. PMID 27157046. 
  7. ^ Kühnen P, Clément K, Wiegand S, Blankenstein O, Gottesdiener K, Martini LL, Mai K, Blume-Peytavi U, Grüters A, Krude H (July 2016). "Proopiomelanocortin Deficiency Treated with a Melanocortin-4 Receptor Agonist". The New England Journal of Medicine. 375 (3): 240–6. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1512693. PMID 27468060. 
  8. ^ Yang YK, Fong TM, Dickinson CJ, Mao C, Li JY, Tota MR, Mosley R, Van Der Ploeg LH, Gantz I (December 2000). "Molecular determinants of ligand binding to the human melanocortin-4 receptor". Biochemistry. 39 (48): 14900–11. doi:10.1021/bi001684q. PMID 11101306. 
  9. ^ Yang YK, Ollmann MM, Wilson BD, Dickinson C, Yamada T, Barsh GS, Gantz I (March 1997). "Effects of recombinant agouti-signaling protein on melanocortin action". Mol. Endocrinol. 11 (3): 274–80. doi:10.1210/me.11.3.274. PMID 9058374. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (Reference Sequence collection).