Hormone receptors which function in the cell nucleus to regulate the expression of specific genes appear to be members of a discrete family of proteins. The best characterized of these are the steroid receptors which, not too surprisingly, share similar structural and functional properties with one another (King, 1987) but it is now emerging from molecular cloning studies that the receptors for thyroid hormone and retinoic acid and a number of novel receptors are also members of this same family of proteins (Table 1). The justification for assigning all these nuclear-acting receptors to a single family of proteins is the subject of this commentary.
table 1. Members of the nuclear receptor family. Receptors which have been cloned are listed together with the chromosomal location of the human genes if known
Androgens (X) Thyroid hormone α (17)
Glucocorticoids (5) Thyroid hormone β (3)
Oestrogens (6) Retinoic acid α (17)
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