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, 22 (8), 717-27

Ligand Binding and Nuclear Receptor Evolution


Ligand Binding and Nuclear Receptor Evolution

H Escriva et al. Bioessays.


Nuclear receptors form a superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors that regulate various physiological functions, from development to homeostasis, in metazoans. The superfamily contains not only receptors for known ligands but also a large number of so-called orphan receptors for which ligands do not exist or have not been identified. The evolution of ligand-binding capacity of nuclear receptors may involve either secondary loss in orphan receptors, or evolutionary acquisition of ligand-binding capacity in liganded receptors. In this review, we present arguments from phylogenetic, functional and structural studies that support the hypothesis that there have been several independent gains of ligand-binding ability of nuclear receptors during metazoan evolution.

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