Ligand-activated transcription factor. Receptor for bile acids such as chenodeoxycholic acid, lithocholic acid and deoxycholic acid. Represses the transcription of the cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase gene (CYP7A1) through the induction of NR0B2 or FGF19 expression, via two distinct mechanisms. Activates the intestinal bile acid-binding protein (IBABP). Activates the transcription of bile salt export pump ABCB11 by directly recruiting histone methyltransferase CARM1 to this locus.