In the field of molecular biology, the pregnane X receptor (PXR), also known as the steroid and xenobiotic sensing nuclear receptor (SXR) or nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group I, member 2 (NR1I2) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the NR1I2 (nuclear Receptor subfamily 1, group I, member 2) gene.
PXR is a nuclear receptor whose primary function is to sense the presence of foreign toxic substances and in response up regulate the expression of proteins involved in the detoxification and clearance of these substances from the body. PXR belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily, members of which are transcription factors characterized by a ligand-binding domain and a DNA-binding domain. PXR is a transcriptional regulator of the cytochrome P450 gene CYP3A4, binding to the response element of the CYP3A4 promoter as a heterodimer with the 9-cis retinoic acid receptor RXR. It is activated by a range of compounds that induce CYP3A4, including dexamethasone and rifampicin.
Ketoconazole is an example of one of the relatively few-known antagonists of the PXR. SPA70 (also known as LC-1) was recently identified and characterized as a potent and selective PXR antagonist.
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