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Nature. 1988 Jun 16;333(6174):669-72.

A new retinoic acid receptor identified from a hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Cancer Research Center, La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation, California 92037.


Processes as diverse as growth, vision and reproduction depend on the presence of vitamin A and its metabolites (retinoids), but the molecular mechanisms which govern these diverse actions remain unclear (for reviews see refs 1,2). A crucial advance recently was the isolation of a specific nuclear receptor for retinoic acid, one of the physiologically active vitamin A derivatives. This nuclear receptor is a member of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor family. Our analysis of an uncharacterized member of this class of intracellular receptors, encoded by a complementary DNA clone from a human placental library, has led us to discover a second retinoic acid receptor. This new receptor is expressed at high levels in a number of epithelial-type tissues. The gene for the receptor was first identified in a hepatocellular carcinoma where it surrounds a site of integration of hepatitis B virus. Activation by this virus may play a role in tumour development in liver cells, where it is normally not expressed.

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