This chapter presents an overview of the current status of studies on the structural and molecular biology of the retinoid X receptor subtypes α, β, and γ (RXRs, NR2B1-3), their nuclear and cytoplasmic functions, post-transcriptional processing, and recently reported ligands. Points of interest are the different changes in the ligand-binding pocket induced by variously shaped agonists, the communication of the ligand-bound pocket with the coactivator binding surface and the heterodimerization interface, and recently identified ligands that are natural products, those that function as environmental toxins or drugs that had been originally designed to interact with other targets, as well as those that were deliberately designed as RXR-selective transcriptional agonists, synergists, or antagonists. Of these synthetic ligands, the general trend in design appears to be away from fully aromatic rigid structures to those containing partial elements of the flexible tetraene side chain of 9-cis-retinoic acid. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Advances in High Density Lipoprotein Formation and Metabolism: A Tribute to John F. Oram (1945-2010).
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