Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 57, Issue 12, pp 1748–1769

Structural studies on nuclear receptors

  • J. P. Renaud
  • D. Moras*

DOI: 10.1007/PL00000656

Cite this article as:
Renaud, J. & Moras*, D. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2000) 57: 1748. doi:10.1007/PL00000656


Nuclear receptors are DNA-binding factors which regulate the transcription of sets of specific genes in response to cognate ligands, usually small lipophilic molecules, thus controlling numerous physiological events in development, procreation, homeostasis, and cellular life. Their ligand-dependent activity makes nuclear receptors obvious targets for drug design in many therapeutic areas. Crystallographic studies have revealed the structure of isolated domains but not, yet, of a whole protein, probably due to an intrinsic flexibility at work in nuclear receptor action. The structure of DNA-binding domain dimers in complex with an oligonucleotide has brought insights into how nuclear receptors recognize and bind to their target sequences (‘response elements’). The structure of several ligand-binding domains in different ligation states has provided evidence for a ligand-dependent transcriptional switch and a molecular basis for the mode of action of agonists and antagonists.

Key words. Nuclear receptor; ligand-dependent regulation of transcription; chromatin remodeling; DNA-binding domain; ligand-binding domain; ligand-induced conformational change; agonist; antagonist. 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Renaud
    • 1
  • D. Moras*
    • 1
  1. 1.Laborataire de Biologie et Génomique Structurale, CNRS UPR 9004, Institut de Génétique et Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM/ULP, B.P. 163, F-67404 Illkirch (France), Fax +33 3 88 65 32 76, e-mail: moras@igbmc.u-strasbg.fr FR

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