A role for vitamin A in living organisms has been known
throughout human history. In the last 100 years, the biochemical
nature of vitamin A and its active derivative, retinoic acid, its
physiological impact on growth processes and the essential details
of its mechanism of action have been revealed by investigations
carried out by researchers using vertebrate and more recently
invertebrate models to study a multiplicity of processes and
conditions, encompassing embryogenesis, postnatal development to
old age. A wealth of intercellular interactions, intracellular
signaling systems and molecular mechanisms have been described and
the overall conclusion is that retinoic acid is essential for life.
This book series, with chapters authored by experts in every aspect
of this complex field, unifies the knowledge base and mechanisms
currently known in detailed, engaging, well-illustrated, focused
chapters that synthesize information for each specific area. In
view of the recent explosion in this field, it is timely to publish
a contemporary, comprehensive, book series recapitulating the most
exciting developments in the field and covering fundamental
research in molecular mechanisms of vitamin A action, its role in
physiology, development and continued well-being and the potential
of vitamin A derivatives and synthetic mimetics to serve as
therapeutic treatments for cancers and other debilitating human
Here, we present the first volume of a multi-volume series on
Retinoic Acid Signaling that will cover all aspects of this broad
and diverse field. One aim of Volume I is to present a compilation
of topics related to the biochemistry of nuclear retinoic acid
receptors, from their architecture when bound to DNA and associated
with their coregulators to their ability to regulate target gene
transcription. A second aim is to provide insight into recent
advances that have been made in identifying novel targets and
non-genomic effects of retinoic acid. Volume I is divided into ten
chapters contributed by prominent experts in their respective
fields. Each chapter starts with the history of the area of
research. Then, the key findings that contributed to development of
the field are described, followed by a detailed look at key
findings and progress that are being made in current, ongoing
research. Each chapter is concluded with a discussion of the
relevance of the research and a perspective on missing pieces and
lingering gaps that the author recommends will be important in
defining future directions in vitamin A research.
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