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PPAR Research
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 254560, 6 pages
Research Article

Identification of Bexarotene as a PPAR Antagonist with HDX

Department of Molecular Therapeutics, The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, Jupiter, FL 33458, USA

Received 26 June 2015; Accepted 23 August 2015

Academic Editor: John B. Bruning

Copyright © 2015 David P. Marciano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The retinoid x receptors (RXRs) are the pharmacological target of Bexarotene, an antineoplastic agent indicated for the treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). The RXRs form heterodimers with several nuclear receptors (NRs), including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), to regulate target gene expression through cooperative recruitment of transcriptional machinery. Here we have applied hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) mass spectrometry to characterize the effects of Bexarotene on the conformational plasticity of the intact RXRα:PPARγ heterodimer. Interestingly, addition of Bexarotene to PPARγ in the absence of RXRα induced protection from solvent exchange, suggesting direct receptor binding. This observation was confirmed using a competitive binding assay. Furthermore, Bexarotene functioned as a PPARγ antagonist able to alter rosiglitazone induced transactivation in a cell based promoter:reporter transactivation assay. Together these results highlight the complex polypharmacology of lipophilic NR targeted small molecules and the utility of HDX for identifying and characterizing these interactions.