Introduction: The orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 (also known as NR4A1, NGFIB, TR3, TIS1, NAK-1, or N10) is a unique transcription factor encoded by an immediate early gene. Nur77 signaling is deregulated in many cancers and constitutes an important molecule for drug targeting.
Areas covered: Nur77 as a versatile transcription factor that displays distinct dual roles in cell proliferation and apoptosis. In addition, several recent insights into Nur77's non-genomic signaling through its physical interactions with various signaling proteins and its phosphorylation-dependent regulation will be highlighted. The possible mechanisms by which Nur77 supports carcinogenesis and specific examples in different human cancers will be summarized. Different approaches to target Nur77 using mimetics, natural products, and synthetic compounds are also described.
Expert opinion: These latest findings shed light on the novel roles of Nur77 as an exploitable target for new cancer therapeutics. Further work which focuses on a more complete understanding of the Nur77 interactome as well as how the different networks of Nur77 functional interactions are orchestrated in a stimulus or context-specific way will aid the development of more selective, non-toxic approaches for targeting Nur77 in future.