Nuclear receptor-dependent transcription with chromatin. Is it all about enzymes?

Eur J Biochem. 2002 May;269(9):2275-83. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1033.2002.02889.x.


Nuclear receptors (NRs) are ligand-regulated, DNA-binding transcription factors that function in the chromatin environment of the nucleus to alter the expression of subsets of hormone-responsive genes. It is clear that chromatin, rather than being a passive player, has a profound effect on both transcriptional repression and activation mediated by NRs. NRs act in conjunction with at least three general classes of cofactors to regulate transcription in the context of chromatin: (a) chromatin remodelers; (b) corepressors; and (c) coactivators, many of which have distinct enzymatic activities that remodel nucleosomes or covalently modify histones (e.g. acetylases, deacetylases, methyltransferases, and kinases). In this paper, we will present a brief overview of these enzymes, their activities, and how they assist NRs in the repression or activation of transcription in the context of chromatin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / physiology
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • Histone Deacetylases / physiology
  • Histone Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase*
  • Humans
  • Methyltransferases / physiology
  • Protamine Kinase / physiology
  • Protein Methyltransferases
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Chromatin
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Histone Methyltransferases
  • Methyltransferases
  • Protein Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • Protamine Kinase
  • Histone Deacetylases