Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Previously Published Works bannerUC Santa Cruz

Charge Characteristics of Agouti-Related Protein Implicate Potent Involvement of Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans in Metabolic Function


The endogenous melanocortin peptide agouti-related protein (AgRP) plays a well-known role in foraging, but its contribution to metabolic regulation is less understood. Mature AgRP(83-132) has distinct residues for melanocortin receptor binding and heparan sulfate interactions. Here, we show that AgRP increases ad libitum feeding and operant responding for food in mice, decreases oxygen consumption, and lowers body temperature and activity, indicating lower energy expenditure. AgRP increased the respiratory exchange ratio, indicating a reduction of fat oxidation and a shift toward carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. The duration and intensity of AgRP's effects depended on the density of its positively charged amino acids, suggesting that its orexigenic and metabolic effects depend on its affinity for heparan sulfate. These findings may have major clinical implications by unveiling the critical involvement of interactions between AgRP and heparan sulfate to the central regulation of energy expenditure, fat utilization, and possibly their contribution to metabolic disease.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View