The regulated secretory pathway and human disease: Insights from gene variants and single nucleotide polymorphisms

Wei Jye Lin, Stephen R. Salton

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The regulated secretory pathway provides critical control of peptide, growth factor, and hormone release from neuroendocrine and endocrine cells, and neurons, maintaining physiological homeostasis. Propeptides and prohormones are packaged into dense core granules (DCGs), where they frequently undergo tissue-specific processing as the DCG matures. Proteins of the granin family are DCG components, and although their function is not fully understood, data suggest they are involved in DCG formation and regulated protein/peptide secretion, in addition to their role as precursors of bioactive peptides. Association of gene variation, including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), with neuropsychiatric, endocrine, and metabolic diseases, has implicated specific secreted proteins and peptides in disease pathogenesis. For example, a SNP at position 196 (G/A) of the human brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene dysregulates protein processing and secretion and leads to cognitive impairment. This suggests more generally that variants identified in genes encoding secreted growth factors, peptides, hormones, and proteins involved in DCG biogenesis, protein processing, and the secretory apparatus, could provide insight into the process of regulated secretion as well as disorders that result when it is impaired.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 96
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 2013


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Chromogranin
  • Dense core granule (DCG)
  • Insulin
  • Neurotrophin
  • Prohormone convertase
  • Proopiomelanocortin (POMC)
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)


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