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Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Jan;121(1):14-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2008.09.006. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

PGRMC1 (progesterone receptor membrane component 1): a targetable protein with multiple functions in steroid signaling, P450 activation and drug binding.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, University of Kentucky, MS-305 UKMC, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, United States.


Hormone signaling is important in a number of disease states, and hormone receptors are effective therapeutic targets. PGRMC1 (progesterone receptor membrane component 1) is a member of a multi-protein complex that binds to progesterone and other steroids, as well as pharmaceutical compounds. In spite of its name, PGRMC1 shares homology with cytochrome b5-related proteins rather than hormone receptors, and heme binding is the sole biochemical activity of PGRMC1. PGRMC1 and its homologues regulate cholesterol synthesis by activating the P450 protein Cyp51/lanosterol demethylase, and the cholesterol synthetic pathway is an important target in cardiovascular disease and in treating infections. PGRMC1 binding partners include multiple P450 proteins, PAIR-BP1, Insig, and an uncharacterized hormone/drug-binding protein. PGRMC1 is induced in a spectrum of cancers, where it promotes cell survival and damage resistance, and PGRMC1 is also expressed in the nervous system and tissues involved in drug metabolism, cholesterol synthesis and hormone synthesis and turnover. One of the appealing features of PGRMC1 and its associated protein complex is its affinity for steroids and drugs. Together with its biological role in promoting tumor survival, PGRMC1 is an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in cancer and related malignancies.

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