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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 1998 Jun;10(3):373-83.

Co-activators and co-repressors in the integration of transcriptional responses.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Diego 92093, USA. jtorchia@julian.uwo.ca


The nuclear hormone receptors are DNA binding transcription factors that are regulated by binding of ligands, switching them from an inactive or repressive state to gene-activating functions. Recent evidence supports the hypothesis that many nuclear receptors switch, in a ligand-dependent manner, between binding of a multicomponent co-repressor complex containing histone deacetyltransferase activity, and binding of a co-activator complex containing factors with histone acetyltransferase activity that are further regulated by diverse signal transduction pathways. The identification of these limiting co-repressor and co-activator complexes and their specific interaction motifs, in concert with solution of the structures of the receptor ligand-binding domain in apo (empty) and ligand bound forms, indicates a common molecular mechanism by which these factors activate and repress gene transcription.

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