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Annu Rev Physiol. 2007;69:201-20.

Nuclear receptor structure: implications for function.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Small lipophilic molecules such as steroidal hormones, retinoids, and free fatty acids control many of the reproductive, developmental, and metabolic processes in eukaryotes. The mediators of these effects are nuclear receptor proteins, ligand-activated transcription factors capable of regulating the expression of complex gene networks. This review addresses the structure and structural properties of nuclear receptors, focusing on the well-studied ligand-binding and DNA-binding domains as well as our still-emerging understanding of the largely unstructured N-terminal regions. To emphasize the allosteric interdependence among these subunits, a more detailed inspection of the structural properties of the human progesterone receptor is presented. Finally, this work is placed in the context of developing a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of nuclear receptor function.

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