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Gene Review

Pomc  -  pro-opiomelanocortin-alpha

Mus musculus

Synonyms: ACTH, BE, Beta-LPH, Clip, Corticotropin-lipotropin, ...
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Disease relevance of Pomc1

  • The finding that the loss of only one copy of the Pomc gene is sufficient to render mice susceptible to the effects of high fat feeding emphasizes the potential importance of this locus as a site for gene-environment interactions predisposing to obesity [1].
  • However, 7 days of PYY(3-36) administration had no effect on cumulative food intake or body weight in wild-type or Pomc(-/-) mice [1].
  • Inactivating mutations of the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene in both mice and humans leads to hyperphagia and obesity [1].
  • Mice harboring a transgene composed of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene promoter sequences (nucleotides -706 to +64) ligated to the simian virus (SV) 40 early gene encoding large T antigen developed large POMC-expressing pituitary tumors [2].
  • In study 2, mice were given CORT from weaning, and Pomc-/- but not wild-type mice developed hyperglycemia, ketonuria, and hepatic steatosis by 8-12 weeks [3].
  • Only alpha-MSH significantly reduced body weight, affecting both fat and lean mass [4].
  • In the BLM mouse model, alpha-MSH reduced skin fibrosis and collagen content and increased tissue levels of SOD2 and HO-1 [5].

Psychiatry related information on Pomc1

  • Since AgrP and the Pomc-derived peptide, alpha-MSH, are functional antagonists at melanocortin 4 receptors in the hypothalamic regulation of appetitive behavior, these results show that robust anorexigenic melanocortin signaling, may contribute to the failure-to-thrive in PWS neonatal mice [6].
  • Both NPY and POMC-derived peptides (melanocortins) have been strongly implicated in the control of feeding behavior, with the former exerting orexigenic effects and the latter having anorexigenic properties [7].
  • CRH-deficient mice have lost normal circadian variations in plasma ACTH and glucocorticoid while maintaining normal circadian locomotor activity [8].
  • Disruption of this mother-pup interaction by 24 h of maternal deprivation activates the otherwise quiescent stress system of the neonates, resulting in an enhanced adrenal sensitivity to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and a decreased expression of central HPA markers, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) [9].
  • Prenatal treatment with these memory-related neuropeptides resulted in significant facilitation of learning/memory task performance in male and female mice treated with Organon 2766 (p less than 0.001), and a significant inhibition of learning/memory task performance in males and females treated with ACTH 1-24 (p less than 0.01) [10].
  • Pomc(+/-) mice increased resting energy expenditure similarly to wild types, but their increase in physical activity was significantly less than that seen in wild-type mice [11].

High impact information on Pomc1

  • Via their HS chains, syndecans potentiate the action of agouti-related protein and agouti signaling protein, endogenous inhibitors of alphaMSH [12].
  • The adrenal gland requires stimuli from peptides derived from the ACTH precursor, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), to maintain its tonic state [13].
  • Although initiation of the stress response appears to be normal, Crhr2-/- mice show early termination of adrenocorticotropic hormone (Acth) release, suggesting that Crhr2 is involved in maintaining HPA drive [14].
  • In response to stress, Crh released from the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus activates Crh receptors on anterior pituitary corticotropes, resulting in release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (Acth) into the bloodstream [15].
  • Acth in turn activates Acth receptors in the adrenal cortex to increase synthesis and release of glucocorticoids [15].

Chemical compound and disease context of Pomc1

  • In agouti yellow (A(y)/a) mice, animals defective in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) signaling, normal levels of histamine, and t-MH were seen in the hypothalamus at 4 weeks of age when obesity had not yet developed [16].
  • VGF is required for obesity induced by diet, gold thioglucose treatment, and agouti and is differentially regulated in pro-opiomelanocortin- and neuropeptide Y-containing arcuate neurons in response to fasting [17].
  • We also show that, in B16 murine melanoma cells, ASP inhibits alphaMSH-stimulated expression of tyrosinase, tyrosine-related proteins 1 and 2 through an inhibition of the transcription activity of their respective promoters [18].
  • We examined whether systemic alpha-MSH and alpha-MSH11-13 inhibit activation of the nuclear transcription factor, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB), a factor that is essential to expression of proinflammatory cytokines, in experimental murine brain inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide [19].
  • Projections of serotonergic neurons onto POMC neurons suggest that leptin and serotonin converge onto POMC neurons to regulate body weight [20].

Biological context of Pomc1


Anatomical context of Pomc1


Associations of Pomc1 with chemical compounds


Physical interactions of Pomc1


Enzymatic interactions of Pomc1

  • Recombinant PC1 was also found to cleave ACTH to ACTH-(1-15) and bovine N-POMC-(1-77) to gamma 3 MSH [38].

Regulatory relationships of Pomc1

  • Furthermore, the increase in ACTH after a forced swim stress was significantly suppressed in V1bR-/- mice [30].
  • Mutants isolated from the Y1 mouse adrenocortical tumor cell line (clones 10r-9 and 10r-6) are resistant to ACTH because they fail to express the melanocortin-2 receptor (MC2R) [39].
  • Interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been shown to stimulate ACTH secretion by anterior pituitary cells and has been implicated in pathophysiological processes of the pituitary and brain in several major neuropsychiatric disorders [40].
  • Evidence that endogenous SST inhibits ACTH and ghrelin expression by independent pathways [41].
  • Alpha-MSH-induced tyrosinase activation and melanin production were completely inhibited by a 100-fold higher concentration of AP9 l -131; the IC50 values for AP91-131 in thetwo assay systems were 91 +/- 22 nM and 95 +/- 15 nM respectively [42].

Other interactions of Pomc1

  • These data suggest that alpha-MSH signalling transduced by Mc4r tonically inhibits feeding; however, it is not known to what extent this pathway mediates leptin signalling [43].
  • Dose-response studies indicate that at low doses (less than 20 micrograms) EGF is as potent a stimulus for ACTH release as CRF [44].
  • In contrast, in PC2(-/-) mice, MAP on the LSD was not greater than in wild-type mice, but plasma gamma-MSH was reduced to one-seventh the wild-type value [27].
  • AVP-induced ACTH release from primary cultured pituitary cells in V1bR-/- mice was also blunted [30].
  • Furthermore, the demonstrated variation in the relative ratio of PC1/PC2 expression during ontogeny rationalizes the observed plasticity of POMC processing in the adenohypophysis [28].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of Pomc1

  • Intravenous infusion of gamma-MSH (0.2 pmol/min) for 30 min to PC2(-/-) mice after 1 week of HSD lowered MAP from hypertensive levels to normal; infusion of alpha-MSH at the same rate had no effect [27].
  • In wild-type mice, adrenalectomy significantly decreased AGRP mRNA but did not significantly influence POMC or NPY mRNA [45].
  • Approximately 98% of the pituitary intermediate lobe melanotropes and anterior lobe corticotropes were ablated as determined by immunocytochemistry and RIA specific for the POMC-derived peptides, ACTH, beta-endorophin, and alpha-MSH [46].
  • Using a more specific antagonist (JKC-363) and RT-PCR analysis, we can postulate that the effects of NDP-alphaMSH were mediated via MC4-R [47].
  • Moreover, accumulation of POMC was observed in PC2-deficient mice by western blots with anti-ACTH and anti-beta-endorphin [48].


  1. Mice lacking pro-opiomelanocortin are sensitive to high-fat feeding but respond normally to the acute anorectic effects of peptide-YY(3-36). Challis, B.G., Coll, A.P., Yeo, G.S., Pinnock, S.B., Dickson, S.L., Thresher, R.R., Dixon, J., Zahn, D., Rochford, J.J., White, A., Oliver, R.L., Millington, G., Aparicio, S.A., Colledge, W.H., Russ, A.P., Carlton, M.B., O'Rahilly, S. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
  2. Post-translational processing of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) in mouse pituitary melanotroph tumors induced by a POMC-simian virus 40 large T antigen transgene. Low, M.J., Liu, B., Hammer, G.D., Rubinstein, M., Allen, R.G. J. Biol. Chem. (1993) [Pubmed]
  3. Proopiomelanocortin-deficient mice are hypersensitive to the adverse metabolic effects of glucocorticoids. Coll, A.P., Challis, B.G., López, M., Piper, S., Yeo, G.S., O'Rahilly, S. Diabetes (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. A comparative study of the central effects of specific proopiomelancortin (POMC)-derived melanocortin peptides on food intake and body weight in pomc null mice. Tung, Y.C., Piper, S.J., Yeung, D., O'Rahilly, S., Coll, A.P. Endocrinology (2006) [Pubmed]
  5. alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone suppresses bleomycin-induced collagen synthesis and reduces tissue fibrosis in a mouse model of scleroderma: melanocortin peptides as a novel treatment strategy for scleroderma? Kokot, A., Sindrilaru, A., Schiller, M., Sunderkötter, C., Kerkhoff, C., Eckes, B., Scharffetter-Kochanek, K., Luger, T.A., Böhm, M. Arthritis Rheum. (2009) [Pubmed]
  6. Anorexigenic melanocortin signaling in the hypothalamus is augmented in association with failure-to-thrive in a transgenic mouse model for Prader-Willi syndrome. Ge, Y., Ohta, T., Driscoll, D.J., Nicholls, R.D., Kalra, S.P. Brain Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
  7. Changes in neuropeptide Y receptors and pro-opiomelanocortin in the anorexia (anx/anx) mouse hypothalamus. Broberger, C., Johansen, J., Brismar, H., Johansson, C., Schalling, M., Hökfelt, T. J. Neurosci. (1999) [Pubmed]
  8. Impaired diurnal adrenal rhythmicity restored by constant infusion of corticotropin-releasing hormone in corticotropin-releasing hormone-deficient mice. Muglia, L.J., Jacobson, L., Weninger, S.C., Luedke, C.E., Bae, D.S., Jeong, K.H., Majzoub, J.A. J. Clin. Invest. (1997) [Pubmed]
  9. The dynamics of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis during maternal deprivation. Schmidt, M., Enthoven, L., van Woezik, J.H., Levine, S., de Kloet, E.R., Oitzl, M.S. J. Neuroendocrinol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. Pre- and postnatally administered ACTH, Organon 2766 and CRF facilitate or inhibit active avoidance task performance in young adult mice. Honour, L.C., White, M.H. Peptides (1988) [Pubmed]
  11. Pro-opiomelanocortin modulates the thermogenic and physical activity responses to high-fat feeding and markedly influences dietary fat preference. Tung, Y.C., Rimmington, D., O'Rahilly, S., Coll, A.P. Endocrinology (2007) [Pubmed]
  12. Transgenic expression of syndecan-1 uncovers a physiological control of feeding behavior by syndecan-3. Reizes, O., Lincecum, J., Wang, Z., Goldberger, O., Huang, L., Kaksonen, M., Ahima, R., Hinkes, M.T., Barsh, G.S., Rauvala, H., Bernfield, M. Cell (2001) [Pubmed]
  13. Characterization of a serine protease that cleaves pro-gamma-melanotropin at the adrenal to stimulate growth. Bicknell, A.B., Lomthaisong, K., Woods, R.J., Hutchinson, E.G., Bennett, H.P., Gladwell, R.T., Lowry, P.J. Cell (2001) [Pubmed]
  14. Abnormal adaptations to stress and impaired cardiovascular function in mice lacking corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-2. Coste, S.C., Kesterson, R.A., Heldwein, K.A., Stevens, S.L., Heard, A.D., Hollis, J.H., Murray, S.E., Hill, J.K., Pantely, G.A., Hohimer, A.R., Hatton, D.C., Phillips, T.J., Finn, D.A., Low, M.J., Rittenberg, M.B., Stenzel, P., Stenzel-Poore, M.P. Nat. Genet. (2000) [Pubmed]
  15. Mice deficient for corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-2 display anxiety-like behaviour and are hypersensitive to stress. Bale, T.L., Contarino, A., Smith, G.W., Chan, R., Gold, L.H., Sawchenko, P.E., Koob, G.F., Vale, W.W., Lee, K.F. Nat. Genet. (2000) [Pubmed]
  16. Hypothalamic neuronal histamine in genetically obese animals: its implication of leptin action in the brain. Itateyama, E., Chiba, S., Sakata, T., Yoshimatsu, H. Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood) (2003) [Pubmed]
  17. VGF is required for obesity induced by diet, gold thioglucose treatment, and agouti and is differentially regulated in pro-opiomelanocortin- and neuropeptide Y-containing arcuate neurons in response to fasting. Hahm, S., Fekete, C., Mizuno, T.M., Windsor, J., Yan, H., Boozer, C.N., Lee, C., Elmquist, J.K., Lechan, R.M., Mobbs, C.V., Salton, S.R. J. Neurosci. (2002) [Pubmed]
  18. Involvement of microphthalmia in the inhibition of melanocyte lineage differentiation and of melanogenesis by agouti signal protein. Aberdam, E., Bertolotto, C., Sviderskaya, E.V., de Thillot, V., Hemesath, T.J., Fisher, D.E., Bennett, D.C., Ortonne, J.P., Ballotti, R. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
  19. Systemically administered alpha-melanocyte-stimulating peptides inhibit NF-kappaB activation in experimental brain inflammation. Ichiyama, T., Sakai, T., Catania, A., Barsh, G.S., Furukawa, S., Lipton, J.M. Brain Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
  20. Deletion of the serotonin 2c receptor from transgenic mice overexpressing leptin does not affect their lipodystrophy but exacerbates their diet-induced obesity. Wang, B., Chehab, F.F. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2006) [Pubmed]
  21. Leptin-regulated endocannabinoids are involved in maintaining food intake. Di Marzo, V., Goparaju, S.K., Wang, L., Liu, J., Bátkai, S., Járai, Z., Fezza, F., Miura, G.I., Palmiter, R.D., Sugiura, T., Kunos, G. Nature (2001) [Pubmed]
  22. Tpit determines alternate fates during pituitary cell differentiation. Pulichino, A.M., Vallette-Kasic, S., Tsai, J.P., Couture, C., Gauthier, Y., Drouin, J. Genes Dev. (2003) [Pubmed]
  23. N-acetylation of hypothalamic alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and regulation by leptin. Guo, L., Münzberg, H., Stuart, R.C., Nillni, E.A., Bjørbaek, C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
  24. Attenuation of diabetic hyperphagia in neuropeptide Y--deficient mice. Sindelar, D.K., Mystkowski, P., Marsh, D.J., Palmiter, R.D., Schwartz, M.W. Diabetes (2002) [Pubmed]
  25. Anorectic estrogen mimics leptin's effect on the rewiring of melanocortin cells and Stat3 signaling in obese animals. Gao, Q., Mezei, G., Nie, Y., Rao, Y., Choi, C.S., Bechmann, I., Leranth, C., Toran-Allerand, D., Priest, C.A., Roberts, J.L., Gao, X.B., Mobbs, C., Shulman, G.I., Diano, S., Horvath, T.L. Nat. Med. (2007) [Pubmed]
  26. Interaction of Agouti protein with the melanocortin 1 receptor in vitro and in vivo. Ollmann, M.M., Lamoreux, M.L., Wilson, B.D., Barsh, G.S. Genes Dev. (1998) [Pubmed]
  27. Genetic disruption of gamma-melanocyte-stimulating hormone signaling leads to salt-sensitive hypertension in the mouse. Ni, X.P., Pearce, D., Butler, A.A., Cone, R.D., Humphreys, M.H. J. Clin. Invest. (2003) [Pubmed]
  28. Ontogeny of the prohormone convertases PC1 and PC2 in the mouse hypophysis and their colocalization with corticotropin and alpha-melanotropin. Marcinkiewicz, M., Day, R., Seidah, N.G., Chrétien, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1993) [Pubmed]
  29. Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone suppresses antigen-induced lymphocyte proliferation in humans independently of melanocortin 1 receptor gene status. Cooper, A., Robinson, S.J., Pickard, C., Jackson, C.L., Friedmann, P.S., Healy, E. J. Immunol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  30. The vasopressin V1b receptor critically regulates hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity under both stress and resting conditions. Tanoue, A., Ito, S., Honda, K., Oshikawa, S., Kitagawa, Y., Koshimizu, T.A., Mori, T., Tsujimoto, G. J. Clin. Invest. (2004) [Pubmed]
  31. Corticotropin-releasing factor desensitization of adrenocorticotropic hormone release is augmented by arginine vasopressin. Hoffman, A.R., Ceda, G., Reisine, T.D. J. Neurosci. (1985) [Pubmed]
  32. Pomc knockout mice have secondary hyperaldosteronism despite an absence of adrenocorticotropin. Linhart, K.B., Majzoub, J.A. Endocrinology (2008) [Pubmed]
  33. Adrenocorticotropic hormone-mediated signaling cascades coordinate a cyclic pattern of steroidogenic factor 1-dependent transcriptional activation. Winnay, J.N., Hammer, G.D. Mol. Endocrinol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  34. Induction of neuropeptide Y gene expression in the dorsal medial hypothalamic nucleus in two models of the agouti obesity syndrome. Kesterson, R.A., Huszar, D., Lynch, C.A., Simerly, R.B., Cone, R.D. Mol. Endocrinol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  35. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) positively regulates corticotropin-releasing hormone-binding protein expression via multiple intracellular signaling pathways and a multipartite GnRH response element in alphaT3-1 cells. Westphal, N.J., Seasholtz, A.F. Mol. Endocrinol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  36. c-Myc protein is stabilized by fibroblast growth factor 2 and destabilized by ACTH to control cell cycle in mouse Y1 adrenocortical cells. Lepique, A.P., Moraes, M.S., Rocha, K.M., Eichler, C.B., Hajj, G.N., Schwindt, T.T., Armelin, H.A. J. Mol. Endocrinol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  37. Coupled site-directed mutagenesis/transgenesis identifies important functional domains of the mouse agouti protein. Perry, W.L., Nakamura, T., Swing, D.A., Secrest, L., Eagleson, B., Hustad, C.M., Copeland, N.G., Jenkins, N.A. Genetics (1996) [Pubmed]
  38. In vitro processing of proopiomelanocortin by recombinant PC1 (SPC3). Friedman, T.C., Loh, Y.P., Birch, N.P. Endocrinology (1994) [Pubmed]
  39. Impaired steroidogenic factor 1 (NR5A1) activity in mutant Y1 mouse adrenocortical tumor cells. Frigeri, C., Tsao, J., Czerwinski, W., Schimmer, B.P. Mol. Endocrinol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  40. Isolation of IL-2 receptor-beta cDNA clones from AtT-20 pituitary cells: constitutive expression and role in signal transduction. Petitto, J.M., Huang, Z., Rinker, C.M., McCarthy, D.B. Neuropsychopharmacology (1997) [Pubmed]
  41. Evidence that endogenous SST inhibits ACTH and ghrelin expression by independent pathways. Luque, R.M., Gahete, M.D., Hochgeschwender, U., Kineman, R.D. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. (2006) [Pubmed]
  42. Antagonist and agonist activities of the mouse agouti protein fragment (91-131) at the melanocortin-1 receptor. Eberle, A.N., Bódi, J., Orosz, G., Süli-Vargha, H., Jäggin, V., Zumsteg, U. J. Recept. Signal Transduct. Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
  43. Response of melanocortin-4 receptor-deficient mice to anorectic and orexigenic peptides. Marsh, D.J., Hollopeter, G., Huszar, D., Laufer, R., Yagaloff, K.A., Fisher, S.L., Burn, P., Palmiter, R.D. Nat. Genet. (1999) [Pubmed]
  44. Epidermal growth factor acts as a corticotropin-releasing factor in chronically catheterized fetal lambs. Polk, D.H., Ervin, M.G., Padbury, J.F., Lam, R.W., Reviczky, A.L., Fisher, D.A. J. Clin. Invest. (1987) [Pubmed]
  45. Adrenalectomy reverses obese phenotype and restores hypothalamic melanocortin tone in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Makimura, H., Mizuno, T.M., Roberts, J., Silverstein, J., Beasley, J., Mobbs, C.V. Diabetes (2000) [Pubmed]
  46. Targeted ablation of pituitary pre-proopiomelanocortin cells by herpes simplex virus-1 thymidine kinase differentially regulates mRNAs encoding the adrenocorticotropin receptor and aldosterone synthase in the mouse adrenal gland. Allen, R.G., Carey, C., Parker, J.D., Mortrud, M.T., Mellon, S.H., Low, M.J. Mol. Endocrinol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  47. Agouti-related protein antagonizes glucocorticoid production induced through melanocortin 4 receptor activation in bovine adrenal cells: a possible autocrine control. Doghman, M., Delagrange, P., Blondet, A., Berthelon, M.C., Durand, P., Naville, D., Bégeot, M. Endocrinology (2004) [Pubmed]
  48. Obliteration of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone derived from POMC in pituitary and brains of PC2-deficient mice. Miller, R., Aaron, W., Toneff, T., Vishnuvardhan, D., Beinfeld, M.C., Hook, V.Y. J. Neurochem. (2003) [Pubmed]
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