Molecule of the Month: Vitamin D Receptor
Vitamin D helps regulate the use of calcium throughout the body
Exploring the Structure
Vitamin D Receptor (PDB entries 1db1 and 3m7r)
Vitamin deficiencies often cause disease, such as night blindness from lack of vitamin A or scurvy from lack of vitamin C. Vitamin D deficiency in young people can lead to rickets, causing the formation of weak bone structure. This can be caused in several ways: vitamin D can be missing from the diet, or the machinery for processing and sensing vitamin D hormone can be faulty. PDB entry 3m7r includes the hormone-binding domain of a mutant receptor that binds only weakly to the hormone, leading to a hereditary form of rickets. To compare this mutant receptor with the native receptor, click on the image for an interactive Jmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- Researchers are working to develop molecules similar to vitamin D to use as drugs to cure vitamin D related diseases. You can find structures of many of these experimental molecules in the PDB.
- The vitamin D receptor is similar to other nuclear hormone receptors, such as the estrogen receptor. You can use the Compare Structures tool at the PDB to look for these similarities.
November 2012, David Goodselldoi:10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2012_11