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Thyroid hormone receptor (TR) functions as part of multiprotein complexes that also include retinoid X receptor (RXR) and transcriptional coregulators. We have found that both the TR CoR box and ninth heptad are required for RXR interaction and in turn for interaction with corepressor proteins N-CoR and SMRT. Remarkably, the recruitment of RXR to repression-defective CoR box and ninth-heptad mutants via a heterologous dimerization interface restores both corepressor interaction and repression. The addition of thyroid hormone obviates the CoR box requirement for RXR interaction, provided that the AF2 activation helix at the C terminus of TR is intact. These results indicate that RXR differentially recognizes the unliganded and liganded conformations of TR and that these differences appear to play a major role in the recruitment of corepressors to TR-RXR heterodimers.