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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 May;59(5):790-8.

PPARs: transcriptional effectors of fatty acids and their derivatives.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Animale, Bâtiment de Biologie, UniversitĂ© de Lausanne, Switzerland.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear hormone receptors that mediate the effects of fatty acids and their derivatives at the transcriptional level. These receptors stimulate transcription after activation by their cognate ligand and binding to the promoter of target genes. In this review, we discuss how fatty acids affect PPAR functions in the cell. We first describe the structural features of the ligand binding domains of PPARs, as defined by crystallographic analyses. We then present the ligand-binding characteristics of each of the three PPARs (alpha, beta/delta, gamma) and relate ligand activation to various cellular processes: (i) fatty acid catabolism and modulation of the inflammatory response for PPARalpha, (ii) embryo implantation, cell proliferation and apoptosis for PPARbeta, and (iii) adipocytic differentiation, monocytic differentiation and cell cycle withdrawal for PPARgamma. Finally, we present possible cross-talk between the PPAR pathway and different endocrine routes within the cell, including the thyroid hormone and retinoid pathways.

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