An overview of ghrelin O-acyltransferase inhibitors: a literature and patent review for 2010-2019

Jacob E. Moose, Katelyn A. Leets, Nilamber A. Mate, John D. Chisholm, James L. Hougland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: The peptide hormone ghrelin regulates physiological processes associated with energy homeostasis such as appetite, insulin signaling, glucose metabolism, and adiposity. Ghrelin has also been implicated in a growing number of neurological pathways involved in stress response and addiction behavior. For ghrelin to bind the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHS-R1a) and activate signaling, the hormone must first be octanoylated on a specific serine side chain. This key transformation is performed by the enzyme ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT), and therefore GOAT inhibitors may be useful in treating disorders related to ghrelin signaling such as diabetes, obesity, and related metabolic syndromes. Areas covered: This report covers ghrelin and GOAT as potential therapeutic targets and summarizes work on GOAT inhibitors through the end of 2019, highlighting recent successes with both peptidomimetics and small molecule GOAT inhibitors as potent modulators of GOAT-catalyzed ghrelin octanoylation. Expert opinion: A growing body of biochemical and structural knowledge regarding the ghrelin/GOAT system now enables multiple avenues for identifying and optimizing GOAT inhibitors. We are at the beginning of a new era with increased opportunities for leveraging ghrelin and GOAT in the understanding and treatment of multiple health conditions including diabetes, obesity, and addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-593
Number of pages13
JournalExpert opinion on therapeutic patents
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2 2020


  • GHS-R1a receptor
  • Ghrelin
  • addiction
  • alcoholism
  • diabetes
  • ghrelin O-acyltransferase
  • membrane-bound O-acyltransferase
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity
  • protein acylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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