Recent progress in the discovery of ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) inhibitors
Ghrelin is a stomach-derived peptide hormone which stimulates appetite. For ghrelin to exert its orexigenic effect, octanoylation on the serine-3 residue of this gut–brain peptide is essential. The octanoylation of ghrelin is mediated by a unique acyltransferase enzyme known as ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT). Thus modulating this enzyme offers viable approaches to alter feeding behaviors. Over the past decade, several small-molecule based approaches have appeared dealing with the discovery of compounds able to modulate this enzyme for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Drug discovery efforts from academic groups and several pharmaceutical companies have fielded compounds having efficacy in altering acylated ghrelin levels in animal models but to date, compounds modulating the activity of the GOAT enzyme do not yet represent clinical options. This mini-review covers the drug discovery approaches of the last decade since the discovery of the GOAT enzyme.