Pre-pro melanin-concentrating hormone (IPR005456)

Short name: Prepro-melanin_conc_hormone

Overlapping homologous superfamilies


Family relationships



Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a cyclic peptide originally identified in teleost fish [PMID: 10421367,PMID: 10421368]. In fish, MCH is released from the pituitary and causes lightening of skin pigment cells through pigment aggregation [PMID: 10996523]. In mammals, MCH is predominantly expressed in the hypothalamus, and functions as a neurotransmitter in the control of a range of functions. A major role of MCH is thought to be in the regulation of feeding: injection of MCH into rat brains stimulates feeding; expression of MCH is upregulated in the hypothalamus of obese and fasting mice; and mice lacking MCH are lean and eat less [PMID: 10421367]. MCH and alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) have antagonistic effects on a number of physiological functions. Alpha-MSH darkens pigmentation in fish and reduces feeding in mammals, whereas MCH increases feeding [PMID: 10996523].

MCH is derived from a pre-pro-hormone (pre-pro-MCH), which contains 1-2 hormones other than MCH, depending on the species. In all species, the 17-19 C-terminal amino acids are cleaved to release MCH. In mammals, amino acids 132-144 encode the hormone neuropeptide EI (NEI), whilst in salmonids, the analogous region encodes neuropeptide EV (NEV), and in other fish, the region determines MCH gene-related peptide (Mgrp) [PMID: 8559281]. A further peptide, known as neuropeptide GE (NGE), is thought to be found in mammalian pre-pro-MCH upstream of NEI, encoded by amino acids 110-129. NEI has been shown to enhance oxytocin and reduce arginine vasopressin secretion from rat pituitary [PMID: 9175893]. Two paralogues of MCH, known as pro-MCH-like 1 and 2 genes (PMCHL1 and PMCHL2), which arose recently in primate evolution, also exist. At present, it is unclear whether the PMCHL genes are functional genes or inactive pseudogenes.

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0007268 chemical synaptic transmission

Molecular Function

GO:0030354 melanin-concentrating hormone activity

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.