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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;19(5):153-60. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2008.02.005. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Caenorhabditis elegans nuclear receptors: insights into life traits.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Huffington Center on Aging, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Nuclear receptors are a class of hormone-gated transcription factors found in metazoans that regulate global changes in gene expression when bound to their cognate ligands. Despite species diversification, nuclear receptors function similarly across taxa, having fundamental roles in detecting intrinsic and environmental signals, and subsequently in coordinating transcriptional cascades that direct reproduction, development, metabolism and homeostasis. These endocrine receptors function in vivo in part as molecular switches and timers that regulate transcriptional cascades. Several Caenorhabditis elegans nuclear receptors integrate intrinsic and extrinsic signals to regulate the dauer diapause and longevity, molting, and heterochronic circuits of development, and are comparable to similar in vivo endocrine regulated processes in other animals.

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