The ligand binding domain of heptocyte nuclear factor 4, which is explosively expanded in nematodes
The ligand binding domain of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF4) like proteins: HNF4 is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily. HNF4 plays a key role in establishing and maintenance of hepatocyte differentiation in the liver. It is also expressed in gut, kidney, and pancreatic beta cells. HNF4 was originally classified as an orphan receptor, but later it is found that HNF4 binds with very high affinity to a variety of fatty acids. However, unlike other nuclear receptors, the ligands do not act as a molecular switch for HNF4. They seem to constantly bind to the receptor, which is constitutively active as a transcription activator. Like other members of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors, HNF4 has a central well conserved DNA binding domain (DBD), a variable N-terminal domain, a flexible hinge and a C-terminal ligand binding domain (LBD). The LBD domain is also responsible for recruiting co-activator proteins. More than 280 nuclear receptors are found in C. ele gans, most of which are originated from an explosive burst of duplications of HNF4.