Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 15, pp 2405–2426 | Cite as

Estrogen and progesterone receptors: from molecular structures to clinical targets

  • Stephan Ellmann
  • Heinrich Sticht
  • Falk Thiel
  • Matthias W. Beckmann
  • Reiner Strick
  • Pamela L. Strissel


Research involving estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER and PR) have greatly contributed to our understanding of cell signaling and transcriptional regulation. In addition to the classical ER and PR nuclear actions, new signaling pathways have recently been identified due to ER and PR association with cell membranes and signal transduction proteins. Bio-informatics has unveiled how ER and PR recognize their ligands, selective modulators and co-factors, which has helped to implement them as key targets in the treatment of benign and malignant tumors. Knowledge regarding ER and PR is vast and complex; therefore, this review will focus on their isoforms, signaling pathways, co-activators and co-repressors, which lead to target gene regulation. Moreover it will highlight ER and PR involvement in benign and malignant diseases as well as pharmacological substances influencing cell signaling and provide established and new structural insights into the mechanism of activation and inhibition of these receptors.


Estrogen and progesterone receptors SERMs and tamoxifen Crystal structures Breast and endometrial carcinoma 



Our research was supported in part by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research (IZKF) at the University Hospital of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg to P.L.S. and R.S. and from the Deutsche Krebshilfe to R.S. Thanks to Anselm Horn (Institute of Bioinformatics) for help with Fig. 6.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Ellmann
    • 1
  • Heinrich Sticht
    • 2
  • Falk Thiel
    • 1
  • Matthias W. Beckmann
    • 1
  • Reiner Strick
    • 1
  • Pamela L. Strissel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Laboratory for Molecular MedicineUniversity-Clinic ErlangenErlangenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Bioinformatics, Institute of BiochemistryUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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