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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 Nov 19. pii: S0960-0760(18)30523-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2018.11.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Endocrine disruption through membrane estrogen receptors and novel pathways leading to rapid toxicological and epigenetic effects.

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Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA; Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA; Thompson Center for Autism and Neurobehavioral Disorders, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Physiological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32610, USA. Electronic address:


Estrogen binding to estrogen receptors (ESR) triggers signaling cascades within cells. Historically, a major emphasis has been characterizing estrogen-induced genomic actions resulting from binding to nuclear estrogen receptor 1 (nESR1). However, recent evidence indicates the first receptors estrogens encounter as they enter a cell, membrane ESR1 (mESR1), also play crucial roles. Membrane and nuclear ESR are derived from the same transcripts but the former are directed to the membrane via palmitoylation. Binding and activation of mESR1 leads to rapid fluctuations in cAMP and Ca+2 and stimulation of protein kinase pathways. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) that mimic 17β-estradiol can signal through mESR1 and elicit non-genomic effects. Most current EDC studies have focused on genomic actions via nESR1. However, increasing number of studies have begun to examine potential EDC effects mediated through mESR1, and some EDC might have higher potency for signaling through mESR1 than nESR1. The notion that such chemicals might also affect mESR1 signaling via palmitoylation and depalmitoylation pathways has also begun to gain currency. Recent development of transgenic mice that lack either mESR1 or nESR1, while retaining functional ESR1 in the other compartment, will allow more precise in vivo approaches to determine EDC effects through nESR1 and/or mESR1. It is increasingly becoming apparent in this quickly evolving field that EDC directly affect mESR and estrogen signaling, but such chemicals can also affect proportion of ESR reaching the membrane. Future EDC studies should be designed to consider the full range of effects through mESR alone and in combination with nESR.


Calcium signaling; ERK; MAPK; NOER; Non-genomic actions; Xenoestrogen

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