Because of their central importance in gene regulation and mediating the actions of many hormones, the nuclear receptors (NRs) have long been recognized as very important biological and pharmaceutical targets. Of all the surfaces available on a given NR, the singular site for regulation of receptor activity has almost invariably been the ligand-binding pocket of the receptor, the site where agonists, antagonists, and selective NR modulators interact. With our increasing understanding of the multiple molecular components involved in NR action, researchers have recently begun to look to additional interaction sites on NRs for regulating their activities by novel mechanisms. The alternate NR-associated interaction sites that have been targeted include the coactivator-binding groove and allosteric sites in the ligand-binding domain, the zinc fingers of the DNA-binding domain, and the NR response element in DNA. The studies thus far have been performed with the estrogen receptors, the androgen receptor (AR), the thyroid hormone receptors, and the pregnane X receptor. Phenotypic and conformation-based screens have also identified small molecule modulators that are believed to function through the NRs but have, as yet, unknown sites and mechanisms of action. The rewards from investigation of these NR alternate-site modulators should be the discovery of new therapeutic approaches and novel agents for regulating the activities of these important NR proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology