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Nucl Recept Signal. 2005;3:e003. Epub 2005 Oct 21.

Corepressors: custom tailoring and alterations while you wait.

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Section of Microbiology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A diverse cadre of metazoan transcription factors mediate repression by recruiting protein complexes containing the SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor) or N-CoR (nuclear receptor corepressor) corepressors. SMRT and N-CoR nucleate the assembly of still larger corepressor complexes that perform the specific molecular incantations necessary to confer transcriptional repression. Although SMRT and N-CoR are paralogs and possess similar molecular architectures and mechanistic strategies, they nonetheless exhibit distinct molecular and biological properties. It is now clear that the functions of both SMRT and N-CoR are further diversified through alternative mRNA splicing, yielding a series of corepressor protein variants that participate in distinctive transcription factor partnerships and display distinguishable repression properties. This review will discuss what is known about the structure and actions of SMRT, N-CoR, and their splicing variants, and how alternative splicing may allow the functions of these corepressors to be adapted and tailored to different cells and to different developmental stages.

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