60 YEARS OF POMC: POMC: the consummate peptide hormone precursor

    1. Philip Lowry2
    1. 1Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
    2. 2Emeritus Professor School of Biological Sciences, The University of Reading, Reading, UK
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to A J L Clark or P Lowry; Email: a.j.clark{at}qmul.ac.uk or p.j.lowry{at}reading.ac.uk

    Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) has been at the forefront of molecular endocrinology for the past 60 years, and the concepts derived from POMC research have led the way in understanding a wide range of endocrine systems. In this issue, we celebrate this enormous body of work with contributions from an outstanding faculty of contributors, many of whom have led these discoveries. The story begins approximately 60 years ago when Li and colleagues reported purifying and sequencing ACTH (Li et al. 1955, Dixon & Li 1956). They and others subsequently reported purification of α- and β-MSH; however, it was with the discovery of β-LPH that the prohormone theory was advanced: that a single peptide precursor molecule could contain several independent biologically active members. These discoveries, and his contributions to them, are reviewed by Phil Lowry (Lowry 2016). A key discovery was that of β-endorphin: Derek Smyth recalls his work and the events surrounding this (Smyth 2016).

    Confirmation of the single-precursor concept was provided by the cloning of the POMC gene by Nakanishi and coworkers; work reviewed by Adrian Clark (Clark 2016). Cloning of POMC additionally revealed undiscovered …

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