Retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs), which belong to the nuclear receptor superfamily, regulate many physiological processes, including hepatic gluconeogenesis, lipid metabolism, immune function and circadian rhythm. Since RORs resemble liver X receptors (LXRs) in the fold structure of their ligand-binding domains, we speculated that ROR-mediated transcription might be modulated by LXR ligands, in line with the multi-template hypothesis. Therefore, we screened our LXR ligand library for compounds with ROR ligand activity and identified a novel ROR ligand with a phenanthridin-6(5H)-one skeleton. Structure-activity relationship studies aimed at separating ROR inverse agonistic activity from LXR-agonistic activity enabled us to develop a series of ROR inverse agonists based on the phenanthridin-6(5H)-one skeleton, including a RORγ-selective inverse agonist.
Keywords: Inverse agonist; LXR; Phenanthridinone; ROR.
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