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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jun 10;100(12):7135-40. Epub 2003 Jun 2.

Retinoid activation of retinoic acid receptor but not retinoid X receptor is sufficient to rescue lethal defect in retinoic acid synthesis.

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  • 1OncoDevelopmental Biology Program, Burnham Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Two isomers of retinoic acid (RA) may be necessary as ligands for retinoid signaling: all-trans-RA for RA receptors (RARs) and 9-cis-RA for retinoid X receptors (RXRs). This was explored by using retinaldehyde dehydrogenase (Raldh)2-/- mouse embryos lacking mesodermal RA synthesis that display early growth arrest unless rescued by all-trans-RA administration. Because isomerization of all-trans-RA to 9-cis-RA can occur, it is unclear whether both ligands are needed for rescue. We show here that an RAR-specific ligand can rescue Raldh2-/- embryos as efficiently as all-trans-RA, whereas an RXR-specific ligand has no effect. Further, whereas all-trans-RA was detected in embryos, 9-cis-RA was undetectable unless a supraphysiological dose of all-trans-RA was administered, revealing that 9-cis-RA is of pharmacological but not physiological significance. Because 9-cis-RA is undetectable and unnecessary for Raldh2-/- rescue, and others have shown that 4-oxo-RA is unnecessary for mouse development, all-trans-RA emerges as the only ligand clearly necessary for retinoid receptor signaling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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