Recent Progress in Orphan Nuclear Hormone Receptors

  • Lee, Yoon-Kwang (Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine) ;
  • Tzameli, Iphigeoia (Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine) ;
  • Zavacki, Ann Marie (Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine) ;
  • Moore, David D. (Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine)
  • Received : 1998.07.18
  • Published : 1998.09.30


The nuclear hormone receptor superfamily currently includes approximately equal numbers of conventional receptors and orphan receptors, which do not have known ligands. Here, we review recent progress from this laboratory on three orphans, two of which are moving from orphan to conventional receptor status. Perhaps the most unusual is CAR, which is a constitutive transactivator in the absence of ligands but becomes transcriptionally inactive in the presence of its ligands, which are androgen metabolites. The response of CAR to its ligands is thus opposite to that of the conventional receptor paradigm. RIP14 (also known as FXR) is activated by both all-trans retinoic acid and a synthetic retinoid previously thought to specifically target the retinoic acid receptors (RARs), and thus appears to be a novel retinoid receptor. Finally, SHP is a novel orphan that lacks a DNA binding domain and interacts with a number of other receptor superfamily members. While it generally inhibits its targets, including CAR, the retinoid X receptor (RXR), and the estrogen receptor (ER), it stimulates transactivation by the orphan SF-1.


CAR;FXR;Nuclear hormone receptor;Orphan receptor;RIPI4;SHP