Allosteric small molecule modulators of nuclear receptors

Femke A. Meijer, Iris A. Leijten-van de Gevel, Rens M.J.M. de Vries, Luc Brunsveld (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
459 Downloads (Pure)


Nuclear Receptors (NRs) are multi-domain proteins, whose natural regulation occurs via ligands for a classical, orthosteric, binding pocket and via intra- and inter-domain allosteric mechanisms. Allosteric modulation of NRs via synthetic small molecules has recently emerged as an interesting entry to address the need for small molecules targeting NRs in pathology, via novel modes of action and with beneficial profiles. In this review the general concept of allosteric modulation in drug discovery is first discussed, serving as a background and inspiration for NRs. Subsequently, the review focuses on examples of small molecules that allosterically modulate NRs, with a strong focus on structural information and the ligand binding domain. Recently discovered nanomolar potent allosteric site NR modulators are catapulting allosteric targeting of NRs to the center of attention. The obtained insights serve as a basis for recommendations for the next steps to take in allosteric small molecular targeting of NRs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-34
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2019


  • Allostery
  • Drug discovery
  • Ligands
  • Nuclear receptors


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