Membrane receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in the rat brain: Fantasy or reality


1. There are numerous circumstantial evidence supporting the concept that steroid hormones control cellular function by means other than the nuclear receptor steroid binding mechanism. It is the intent of this report to present evidence indicating that steroids bind to specific sites in neuronal membranes. 2. Some of the criteria to define steroid membrane receptors using steroid-BSA conjugates that can be radioiodinated to desired specific activity have been fulfilled for each of the three sex steroids using crude synaptosomal membrane preparations (P2 fractions) from the CNS of female and male rats. Ligand binding for each of the three steroids indicate high-affinity and high-capacity sites with distinct brain selectivity and stereospecificity. For example, 17β-E-6-[125I]BSA binds hypothalamic P2 fractions (HYP-P2) with an estimatedK d of about 3±0.7 nM (X ± SE;n=3), whereas the cerebellum P2 (CB-P2) fractions bind the ligand with aK d of 34±7 nM and, aB max of 3 and 42 pmol/mg protein, respectively. Estrogen and testosterone binding fit best a one-single site, while progesterone binding sites can be best represented by a two-binding site, one high-affinity (K d=1–2 nM) and one low affinity (K d=62 nM), in CB-P2 fractions from intact adult female rat brain. Kinetics studies for T-3-[125I]BSA indicate that the estimatedK d of 30±2 nM for the olfactory bulb P2 fractions (OB-P2) from male rats is in good agreement withK d values computed from Scatchard-derived data using the LIGAND algorithm. 3. 17β-E-6-[125I]BSA binding sites are stereospecific and appears to be present as early as 5 days of age in both the OB- and the CB-P2 fractions without changes during development. In contrast, P-6-[125I]BSA binding sites are practically absent during days 5 and 12 and appear by day 22. 4. Finally, membrane receptor molecules for estrogen and progesterone have been isolated and purified by affinity chromatography and characterized by PAGE and Western blot. Microsequencing of one of the membrane estrogen binding proteins indicates that the high-affinity site corresponds to the OSCP subunit of the proton ATP synthase. 5. It remains to be determined if P and T also bind to this complex enzyme or if they bind to other subunits of the family of proton ATPases. Overall the data indicate that steroid hormones conjugated to BSA are important tools to study the “reality of membrane steroid receptors.”

DOI: 10.1007/BF02088175

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@article{Ramrez1996MembraneRF, title={Membrane receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in the rat brain: Fantasy or reality}, author={Victor H. D{\'i}az Ram{\'i}rez and Jianbiao Zheng and Khawar M. Siddique}, journal={Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology}, year={1996}, volume={16}, pages={175-198} }