N-terminal truncations in sex steroid receptors and rapid steroid actions

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Sex steroid receptors act as ligand activated nuclear transcription factors throughout the body, including the brain. However, post-translational modification of these receptors can direct them to extranuclear sites, including the plasma membrane, where they are able to initiate rapid signaling. Because of the conserved domain structure of these receptors, alternative exon splicing can result in proteins with altered nuclear and extranuclear actions. Although much attention has focused on internal and C-terminal splice variants, both estrogen and androgen receptors undergo N-terminal truncations, as well. These truncated proteins not only influence the transcriptional activity of the full-length receptors, but also associate with caveolin and initiate signaling at the plasma membrane. Such actions may have important physiological consequences in neuronal, endothelial, and cancer signaling and cell survival.

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