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EMBO J. 1994 Nov 15;13(22):5370-82.

Activation function 2 (AF-2) of retinoic acid receptor and 9-cis retinoic acid receptor: presence of a conserved autonomous constitutive activating domain and influence of the nature of the response element on AF-2 activity.

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Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM/ULP/Collège de France, Strasbourg.


A motif essential for the transcriptional activation function 2 (AF-2) present in the E region of retinoic acid receptor (RAR) alpha and 9-cis retinoic acid receptor (RXR) alpha has been characterized as an amphipathic alpha-helix whose main features are conserved between transcriptionally active members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. This conserved motif, which can activate autonomously in the absence of ligand in animal and yeast cells, can be swapped between nuclear receptors without affecting the ligand dependency for activation of transcription, thus indicating that a ligand-dependent conformational change is necessary to reveal the AF-2 activation potential within the E region of the nuclear receptor. Interestingly, we show that the precise nature of the direct repeat response element to which RAR/RXR heterodimers are bound can affect the activity of the AF-2s of the heterodimeric partners, as well as the relative efficiency with which all-trans and 9-cis retinoic acids activate the RAR partner.

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