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Received March 21, 2011; Revision received April 7, 2011
Constitutive androstane receptor (CAR, NR1I3), which is under consideration in this review, is a member of the superfamily of nuclear receptors. However, certain features distinguish CAR from the variety of nuclear receptors. First, this receptor has structural features that allow it to display constitutive activity in the absence of a ligand and to interact in a species-specific manner with a huge number of ligands diverse in chemical structure and origin. Second, recently many researchers are focused on CAR because the significance is increasingly shown of its influence on a variety of physiological functions, such as gluconeogenesis, metabolism of xenobiotics, fatty acids, bilirubin, and bile acids, hormonal regulation, etc. In addition to the fundamental scientific interest, the study of CAR is of practical importance because changes in CAR activity can lead to disorders in physiological processes, which finally can result in changes in pathological states. However, despite intensive studies, many mechanisms are still unclear, which makes it difficult to understand the role of CAR in the overall picture of molecular regulation of physiological processes. This review analyzes the features and diversity of the functions of CAR.
KEY WORDS: CAR, gene expression activation, ligands, xenobiotics, metabolism