Small peptides: could they have a big role in metabolism and the response to exercise?

ATAKAN M. M., TÜRKEL İ., ÖZERKLİĞ B., KOŞAR Ş., Taylor D. F., Yan X., ...More

Journal of Physiology, vol.602, no.4, pp.545-568, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 602 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1113/jp283214
  • Journal Name: Journal of Physiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.545-568
  • Keywords: exercise, metabolism, mitochondria, mitochondrially derived peptides, small open reading frames
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Exercise is a powerful non-pharmacological intervention for the treatment and prevention of numerous chronic diseases. Contracting skeletal muscles provoke widespread perturbations in numerous cells, tissues and organs, which stimulate multiple integrated adaptations that ultimately contribute to the many health benefits associated with regular exercise. Despite much research, the molecular mechanisms driving such changes are not completely resolved. Technological advancements beginning in the early 1960s have opened new avenues to explore the mechanisms responsible for the many beneficial adaptations to exercise. This has led to increased research into the role of small peptides (<100 amino acids) and mitochondrially derived peptides in metabolism and disease, including those coded within small open reading frames (sORFs; coding sequences that encode small peptides). Recently, it has been hypothesized that sORF-encoded mitochondrially derived peptides and other small peptides play significant roles as exercise-sensitive peptides in exercise-induced physiological adaptation. In this review, we highlight the discovery of mitochondrially derived peptides and newly discovered small peptides involved in metabolism, with a specific emphasis on their functions in exercise-induced adaptations and the prevention of metabolic diseases. In light of the few studies available, we also present data on how both single exercise sessions and exercise training affect expression of sORF-encoded mitochondrially derived peptides. Finally, we outline numerous research questions that await investigation regarding the roles of mitochondrially derived peptides in metabolism and prevention of various diseases, in addition to their roles in exercise-induced physiological adaptations, for future studies. (Figure presented.).