COMMUNITY SITE: Receptor Roundup

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Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 823
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5711.823d

Many hormones attach to receptors on the cell surface, but molecules such as testosterone and estrogen link up with so-called nuclear receptors within the cell. The combination then latches onto DNA, turning genes off or on. At the Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas (NURSA), molecular biologists, drug designers, and other researchers can uncover information about nuclear receptors, which can go awry in prostate and breast cancer and in conditions such as obesity.

The site's central database describes 49 receptors and, for some, supplies measurements of their messenger RNA levels at different times of the day and in various tissues. The database will grow to include receptor DNA sequences and crystal structures, says site editor Neil McKenna of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. NURSA also offers a tutorial on the discovery of nuclear receptors and their interactions with other molecules, such as the coactivators and corepressors that ramp up or hinder their activity. See how a receptor, hormone, and coactivator amalgam gloms onto a gene. Visitors can also join a discussion forum or browse the site's new, free-access journal.

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