Isolation of genes encoding the receptors for steroids, retinoids, vitamin D, and thyroid hormone and their structural and functional analysis revealed an evolutionarily conserved template for nuclear hormone receptors. This discovery sparked identification of numerous genes encoding related proteins, termed orphan receptors. Characterization of these orphan receptors and, in particular, of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) positioned nuclear receptors at the epicenter of the "Big Bang" of molecular endocrinology. This Review provides a personal perspective on nuclear receptors and explores their integrated and coordinated signaling networks that are essential for multicellular life, highlighting the RXR heterodimer and its associated ligands and transcriptional mechanism.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.