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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hormone fatty acid modifications: gram negative bacteria and vertebrates demonstrate common structure and function.

Bacteria are known to regulate diverse physiological processes through a mechanism called quorum sensing (QS). Prokaryotes communicate by extracellular signalling compounds, i.e. autoinducers (acyl homoserine lactone, AHL of Gram negative bacteria) or pheromones (post-translationally modified peptides of Gram positive bacteria), which activate genetic pathways when they reach a sufficient concentration (QS). A large number of Gram-negative quorum-sensing systems studied so far utilize N-acyl homoserine lactones as signal molecules. In vertebrates small synthetic molecules called growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs) stimulate the release of growth hormone (GH) from the pituitary. GH release is stimulated by hypothalamic GH- releasing hormone (GHRH) and ghrelin (endogenous ligand of the GHS-receptor, GHS-R). Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide, in which the serine-3 (Ser3) is n-octanoylated, and this modification is essential for ghrelin's activity. Ghrelin is the first known case of a peptide hormone modified by a fatty acid. The major active form of ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide with octanoylated Ser3; one of the more represented bacterial autoinducers is the N-Octanoyl-DL-homoserine lactone (C8-HL) molecule. The authors hypothesize that Gram-negative bacteria and vertebrates have a functional similarity in the search of food and an important structural homology of AHL and ghrelin for the highly conserved Serine-acylated motive in both molecules. Our suggestions could help one to understand the convergent origin and the biologic meaning of the Serine-acylated group in these organisms, a biologic meaning very important due to the high conservation in two kingdoms which are so different.[1]


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