Steroid hormones working through their receptors regulate a wide variety of physiologic processes necessary for normal homeostasis. Recent years have witnessed great advances in our understanding of how these hormones interact with their receptors, and have brought us closer to the era of directed drug design. We previously described a novel intramolecular interaction between helix 3 and helix 5 which is responsible for a Mendelian form of human hypertension. Further studies revealed that this interaction is highly conserved throughout the steroid hormone receptor family and functions as a key regulator of steroid hormone receptor sensitivity and specificity. Here, we review the contribution of helix 3-helix 5 interaction to steroid hormone receptor activity, with an eye towards how this knowledge may aid in the creation of novel therapeutic agonists and antagonists.
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