Researchers have identified a new appetite-suppressing hormone – aptly named obestatin -- and its receptor in mammals. Stanford University biologists report this week in Science that obestatin is produced by posttranslational modification of a protein precursor that also gives rise to ghrelin, a peptide dubbed 'the hunger hormone' for its stimulatory effects on appetite. The authors suggest this work may provide new targets for the control of obesity, as well as clear up some mysteries concerning the function of its sibling and physiological opponent, ghrelin.

"It's an enormous data set, an elegant study, and beautiful data," Matthias Tschöp of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, who co-wrote an accompanying perspective, told The Scientist. David E. Cummings of the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research, described the work as a "major new find."

The study was led by Aaron...

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