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Coatomer subunit alpha
Other data
LocusChr. 1 q23.2

Xenin is a peptide hormone produced by a subpopulation of chromogranin A-positive endocrine cells in the mucous membrane of the duodenum. The peptide has been found in humans, dogs, pigs, rats, and rabbits.

In humans, xenin circulates in the blood plasma.[1] There is a relationship between peaks of xenin concentration in the plasma and the third phase of the Migrating Motor Complex. For example, infusion of synthetic xenin in fasting volunteers will cause phase III activity. After a meal (the 'postprandial state'), infusion of xenin increases both frequency and the percentage of aborally propagated contractions. In higher concentrations xenin stimulates exocrine pancreatic secretion and inhibits the gastrin-stimulated secretion of acid in dogs. Xenin is also produced in neuroendocrine tumors of the duodenal mucosa.

In vitro, xenin interacts with the neurotensin receptor 1.

Structure and sequence

Xenin is a 25-amino acid polypeptide. The amino acid sequence of xenin is identical to the N-terminal end of cytoplasmic coatomer subunit alpha,[2] from which xenin can be cleaved by aspartic proteases. Xenin is structurally related to the amphibian peptide xenopsin and to the neuropeptide neurotensin.


Proxenin is the precursor to xenin. It is a 35-amino acid polypeptide. Like xenin, its amino acid sequence exactly matches the N-terminus of coatomer subunit alpha.[2]

As a drug target

Xenin promotes beta-cell survival and xenin has been evaluated in animal models of obesity and diabetes where it has demonstrated an antidiabetic potential.[3] In humans, co-administration of xenin-25 and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) reduces postprandial glycemia by delaying gastric emptying. [4]


  1. Feurle GE, Hamscher G, Kusiek R, Meyer HE, Metzger JW (November 1992). "Identification of xenin, a xenopsin-related peptide, in the human gastric mucosa and its effect on exocrine pancreatic secretion". J. Biol. Chem. 267 (31): 22305–9. PMID 1429581.
  2. 2.0 2.1 UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entry P53621 COPA_HUMAN
  3. Craig SL, Gault VA, Irwin N (September 2018). "Emerging therapeutic potential for xenin and related peptides in obesity and diabetes". Diabetes/metabolism Research and Reviews. 34 (6): e3006. doi:10.1002/dmrr.3006. PMID 29633491.
  4. Hussain MA, Akalestou E, Song WJ (April 2016). "Inter-organ communication and regulation of beta cell function". Diabetologia. 59 (4): 659–67. doi:10.1007/s00125-015-3862-7. PMC 4801104. PMID 26791990.

Further reading