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The Discovery of Estrogen Receptor β

In situ hybridization showing ERβ expression in prostatic epithelium (near left) and ovarian granulosa cells (far left). Below is a notebook page describing the phenotypes of ERβ knockout mice. Credit: IN SITU IMAGES: © 1996 THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES / NOTEBOOK: COURTESY OF JAN-ǺKE GUSTAFSSON" />In situ hybridization showing ERβ expression in prostatic epithelium (near left) and ovarian granulosa cells (far left). Below is a notebook page describing the phenotyp

Brendan Maher
<figcaption>In situ hybridization showing ERβ expression in prostatic epithelium (near left) and ovarian granulosa cells (far left). Below is a notebook page describing the phenotypes of ERβ knockout mice. Credit: IN SITU IMAGES: © 1996 THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES / NOTEBOOK: COURTESY OF JAN-ǺKE GUSTAFSSON</figcaption>
In situ hybridization showing ERβ expression in prostatic epithelium (near left) and ovarian granulosa cells (far left). Below is a notebook page describing the phenotypes of ERβ knockout mice. Credit: IN SITU IMAGES: © 1996 THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES / NOTEBOOK: COURTESY OF JAN-ǺKE GUSTAFSSON

The first estrogen receptor was discovered in the late 1950s, a period that Jan-Ǻke Gustafsson refers to as BC (before cloning). Forty years later, he and colleagues were looking for a completely unrelated androgen receptor in the prostate when they stumbled across a nuclear hormone receptor with near-perfect homology to the estrogen receptor's DNA binding region, and 58% homology at the c-terminal domain. "We thought it might be a cloning variant," Gustafsson says, but as soon as they realized it was a novel estrogen receptor, they raced to publish the results.1

Dubbing the original protein ERα and this version ERβ, the group and...

References

1. G.G. Kuiper et al., "Cloning of a novel estrogen receptor expressed in rat prostate and ovary," Proc Natl Acad Sci, 93:5925-30, 1996.

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