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Retinoid X Receptor Selective Agonists and their Synthetic Methods

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 6 ]


Carl E. Wagner, Peter W. Jurutka, Pamela A. Marshall and Michael C. Heck   Pages 742 - 767 ( 26 )


Since the isolation and identification of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) as a member of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily in 1990, its analysis has ushered in a new understanding of physiological regulation by nuclear receptors, and novel methods to identify other unknown and orphan receptors. Expression of one or more of the three isoforms of RXR—α, β, and γ—can be found in every human cell type. Biologically, RXR plays a critical role through its ability to partner with other nuclear receptors. RXR is able to regulate nutrient metabolism by forming “permissive” heterodimers with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), liver-X-receptor (LXR), farnesoid X receptor (FXR), pregnane X receptor (PXR) and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), which function when ligands are bound to one or both of the heterodimer partners. Conversely, RXR is able to form “nonpermissive” heterodimers with vitamin D receptor (VDR), thyroid receptor (TR) and retinoic acid receptor (RAR), which function only in the presence of vitamin D, T3 and retinoic acid, respectively. Furthermore, RXR can form homodimers in the presence of a selective agonist, or rexinoid, to regulate gene expression and to either inhibit proliferation or induce apoptosis in human cancers. Thus, over the last 25 years there have been several reports on the design and synthesis of small molecule rexinoids. This review summarizes the synthetic methods for several of the most potent rexinoids thus far reported.


Ligand, Organic synthesis, Retinoid, Rexinoid, RXR.


School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Arizona State University, 4701 W Thunderbird Road, Glendale, AZ

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