Nuclear receptor coregulators: cellular and molecular biology

Endocr Rev. 1999 Jun;20(3):321-44. doi: 10.1210/edrv.20.3.0366.


Nuclear receptor coregulators are coactivators or corepressors that are required by nuclear receptors for efficient transcripitonal regulation. In this context, we define coactivators, broadly, as molecules that interact with nuclear receptors and enhance their transactivation. Analogously, we refer to nuclear receptor corepressors as factors that interact with nuclear receptors and lower the transcription rate at their target genes. Most coregulators are, by definition, rate limiting for nuclear receptor activation and repression, but do not significantly alter basal transcription. Recent data have indicated multiple modes of action of coregulators, including direct interactions with basal transcription factors and covalent modification of histones and other proteins. Reflecting this functional diversity, many coregulators exist in distinct steady state precomplexes, which are thought to associate in promoter-specific configurations. In addition, these factors may function as molecular gates to enable integration of diverse signal transduction pathways at nuclear receptor-regulated promoters. This review will summarize selected aspects of our current knowledge of the cellular and molecular biology of nuclear receptor coregulators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • Chromatin
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators