Retinoic acid signaling pathways in development and diseases

Bhaskar C. Das, Pritam Thapa, Radha Karki, Sasmita Das, Sweta Mahapatra, Ting Chun Liu, Ingrid Torregroza, Darren P. Wallace, Suman Kambhampati, Peter Van Veldhuizen, Amit Verma, Swapan K. Ray, Todd Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Retinoids comprise a group of compounds each composed of three basic parts: a trimethylated cyclohexene ring that is a bulky hydrophobic group, a conjugated tetraene side chain that functions as a linker unit, and a polar carbon-oxygen functional group. Biochemical conversion of carotenoid or other retinoids to retinoic acid (RA) is essential for normal regulation of a wide range of biological processes including development, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. Retinoids regulate various physiological outputs by binding to nuclear receptors called retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs), which themselves are DNA-binding transcriptional regulators. The functional response of RA and their receptors are modulated by a host of coactivators and corepressors. Retinoids are essential in the development and function of several organ systems; however, deregulated retinoid signaling can contribute to serious diseases. Several natural and synthetic retinoids are in clinical use or undergoing trials for treating specific diseases including cancer. In this review, we provide a broad overview on the importance of retinoids in development and various diseases, highlighting various retinoids in the drug discovery process, ranging all the way from retinoid chemistry to clinical uses and imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-683
Number of pages11
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014


  • Boron retinoids
  • Chemical biology
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinoids
  • Retinoids imaging
  • Vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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