We have cloned a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily. The cDNA was isolated from a rat liver library and encodes a protein of 446 aa with a predicted mass of 50 kDa. This clone (OR-1) shows no striking homology to any known member of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. The most related receptor is the ecdysone receptor and the highest homologies represent < 10% in the amino-terminal domain, between 15-37% in the carboxyl-terminal domain and 50-62% in the DNA binding domain. The expression of OR-1 appears to be widespread in both fetal and adult rat tissues. Potential DNA response elements composed of a direct repeat of the hexameric motif AGGTCA spaced by 0-6 nt were tested in gel shift experiments. OR-1 was shown to interact with the 9-cis-retinoic acid receptor (retinoid X receptor, RXR) and the OR-1/RXR complex to bind to a direct repeat spaced by 4 nt (DR4). In transfection experiments, OR-1 appears to activate RXR-mediated function through the DR4. Therefore OR-1 might modulate 9-cis-retinoic acid signaling by interacting with RXR
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