Heterodimers of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) and the retinoid X receptors (RXR) recognize response elements (PPREs) that exhibit the consensus sequence 5'-A(A/T)CT(A/G)GGNCAAAG(G/T)TCA-3'. The consensus PPRE includes both a 5'-extension and a direct repeat (DR1) comprised of two canonical core recognition sequences (underlined) for nuclear receptor zinc fingers separated by a single nucleotide spacer. The extended binding site recognized by PPARs is very similar to sites that bind monomers of the nuclear receptors Rev-ErbA and ROR suggesting that the latter could bind to PPREs and affect gene transcription. However, Rev-ErbA and ROR bind weakly to naturally occurring PPREs relative to the consensus binding site, and significant effects on PPARalpha transactivation of a CYP4A6-Z reporter were not observed. In contrast, PPAR/RXR heterodimers bind to a DR2 element containing the conserved 5'-extended sequence that is recognized by dimers of RORalpha or Rev-ErbA. PPARalpha/RXRalpha positively regulate transcription from this element, and co-expression of Rev-ErbA blocks this effect. The nuclear receptors NGFI-B and ROR utilize a carboxyl-terminal extension (CTE) of the zinc finger DNA binding domain in their interactions with the 5'-extension of a single zinc finger-binding site. DNA binding domains (DBD) of PPARs alpha, delta, and gamma that contain the zinc finger motif and a CTE display binding to core recognition sequences that is dependent on the 5'-extended sequence found in PPREs. Unlike DBDs of other nuclear receptors that form heterodimers with RXR, the PPAR-DBDs did not exhibit cooperative binding with the DBD of RXR and exhibit the opposite polarity for binding to the direct repeat motif. In contrast to the corresponding DBD of RXR, the PPAR-DBDs bind as monomers to a single extended binding site as well as to the consensus PPRE. A chimera linking the zinc finger domain of RXRalpha to the CTE from PPARalpha bound to a single extended binding site indicating a functional role for the CTE of PPARs in extended binding site recognition.