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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Jan;23(1):188-99. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-07-0638. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

DHHC-7 and -21 are palmitoylacyltransferases for sex steroid receptors.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92717, USA.


Classical estrogen, progesterone, and androgen receptors (ERs, PRs, and ARs) localize outside the nucleus at the plasma membrane of target cells. From the membrane, the receptors signal to activate kinase cascades that are essential for the modulation of transcription and nongenomic functions in many target cells. ER, PR, and AR trafficking to the membrane requires receptor palmitoylation by palmitoylacyltransferase (PAT) protein(s). However, the identity of the steroid receptor PAT(s) is unknown. We identified the DHHC-7 and -21 proteins as conserved PATs for the sex steroid receptors. From DHHC-7 and -21 knockdown studies, the PATs are required for endogenous ER, PR, and AR palmitoylation, membrane trafficking, and rapid signal transduction in cancer cells. Thus the DHHC-7 and -21 proteins are novel targets to selectively inhibit membrane sex steroid receptor localization and function.

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