Accepted Preprint (first posted online 7 December 2015)

    60 YEARS OF POMC: The proopiomelanocortin gene: discovery, deletion and disease

    1. Adrian J L Clark
    1. A Clark, Queen Mary University of London, Department of Endocrinology, London, United Kingdom
    1. Correspondence: Adrian J L Clark, Email: a.j.clark{at}


    The cloning of the bovine proopiomelanocortin cDNA in 1978 by Nakanishi and colleagues was the result of a remarkable series of exacting and ingenious experiments. With this work they instantly confirmed the single precursor hypothesis for ACTH-β-lipotropin, as it was then known, and in so doing revealed the existence of additional, largely unpredicted, N-terminal peptides that together formed the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) precursor peptide. This work paved the way for a host of additional studies into the physiology of these peptides and their regulation. Furthermore the cloning of the murine Pomc gene was essential for subsequent studies in which Pomc was intentionally deleted in the mouse illuminating its substantial role in body weight regulation and adrenal function. Contemporaneously with this work, naturally occurring mutations in human POMC came to light underlining the vital role of this gene in appetite regulation. In this article I review each of these aspects of POMC with the benefit of several decades of hindsight and informed by more recent genomic and transcriptopic data.

    • Received 29 October 2015
    • Revision received 22 November 2015
    • Accepted 4 December 2015
    • Accepted Preprint first posted online on 7 December 2015

    This Article

    1. J Mol Endocrinol JME-15-0268
    1. Abstract
    2. All Versions of this Article:
      1. JME-15-0268v1
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