Anatomical profiling of nuclear receptor expression reveals a hierarchical transcriptional network.

PMID 16923397


In multicellular organisms, the ability to regulate reproduction, development, and nutrient utilization coincided with the evolution of nuclear receptors (NRs), transcription factors that utilize lipophilic ligands to mediate their function. Studying the expression profile of NRs offers a simple, powerful way to obtain highly relational information about their physiologic functions as individual proteins and as a superfamily. We surveyed the expression of all 49 mouse NR mRNAs in 39 tissues, representing diverse anatomical systems. The resulting data set uncovers several NR clades whose patterns of expression indicate their ability to coordinate the transcriptional programs necessary to affect distinct physiologic pathways. Remarkably, this regulatory network divides along the following two physiologic paradigms: (1) reproduction, development, and growth and (2) nutrient uptake, metabolism, and excretion. These data reveal a hierarchical transcriptional circuitry that extends beyond individual tissues to form a meganetwork governing physiology on an organismal scale.