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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 29;94(9):4312-7.

Hypolipidemic drugs, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and eicosanoids are ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors alpha and delta.

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  • 1The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Gene Expression Laboratory, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Fatty acids (FAs) and their derivatives are essential cellular metabolites whose concentrations must be closely regulated. This implies that regulatory circuits exist which can sense changes in FA levels. Indeed, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) regulates lipid homeostasis and is transcriptionally activated by a variety of lipid-like compounds. It remains unclear as to how these structurally diverse compounds can activate a single receptor. We have developed a novel conformation-based assay that screens activators for their ability to bind to PPARalpha/delta and induce DNA binding. We show here that specific FAs, eicosanoids, and hypolipidemic drugs are ligands for PPARalpha or PPARdelta. Because altered FA levels are associated with obesity, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes, PPARs may serve as molecular sensors that are central to the development and treatment of these metabolic disorders.

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