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Open Access Open Badges Research

Complex effects of rexinoids on ligand dependent activation or inhibition of the xenobiotic receptor, CAR

Iphigenia Tzameli2, Steven S Chua1, Boris Cheskis3 and David D Moore1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA

2 Department of Medicine, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA

3 Department of Cell Biology, Women's Health Research Institute, 145 King of Prussia Road, Radnor, PA 19087, USA

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Nuclear Receptor 2003, 1:2  doi:10.1186/1478-1336-1-2

Published: 6 June 2003



CAR/RXR heterodimers bind a variety of hormone response elements and activate transcription in the absence of added ligands. This constitutive activity of murine CAR can be inhibited by the inverse agonist ligand androstanol or increased by the agonist TCPOBOP. RXR agonists activate some RXR heterodimer complexes, which are termed permissive, while other non-permissive complexes are not responsive to such ligands.


Direct protein-protein interaction studies demonstrate that the RXR agonist 9-cis-RA increases interaction of CAR/RXR heterodimers with the coactivator SRC-3, but also inhibits the ability of TCPOBOP to increase and androstanol to decrease coactivator binding. CAR transactivation of a response element with a five nucleotide spacer (DR-5) is unaffected by 9-cis-RA or the synthetic RXR agonist LG1069. In agreement with the inhibitory effect observed in vitro, these rexinoids block both the TCPOBOP mediated transactivation of this element and the androstanol dependent inhibition. In contrast, CAR transactivation of other response elements is increased by rexinoids. Stable expression of CAR in a HepG2 derived cell line increases expression of the endogenous CAR target CYP2B6. This expression is further increased by TCPOBOP but decreased by either androstanol or LG1069, and LG1069 blocks the stimulatory effect of TCPOBOP but not the inhibitory effect of androstanol.


We conclude that CAR/RXR heterodimers are neither strictly permissive nor non-permissive for RXR signaling. Instead, rexinoids have distinct effects in different contexts. These results expand the potential regulatory mechanisms of rexinoids and suggest that such compounds may have complex and variable effects on xenobiotic responses.