Nuclear receptors (NRs) are members of a large superfamily of evolutionarily related DNA-binding transcription factors that regulate programs involved in a broad spectrum of physiological phenomena Before the genes encoding these receptors were cloned, the first NR was identified biochemically in the 1960s by Jensen and Khan in 2004. NRs have become recognized as a superfamily of transcription factors, and the NR research field has undergone very rapid development and covers areas ranging from structural and functional analyses to the molecular mechanisms of transcription regulation. The other class of NRs are the so-called orphan receptors, for which regulatory ligands are still unknown or may not exist (âtrue orphansâ) or for which candidates have only recently been identified (âadopted orphansâ). Controversy still exists regarding the evolutionary origin of the NR family as to whether the ancestral receptor was ligand-dependent or this feature evolved independently.
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Last date updated on June, 2014