S-palmitoylation modulates estrogen receptor α localization and functions

Maria Marino, Paolo Ascenzi, Filippo Acconcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


17β-Estradiol (E2) acts as a chemical messenger in target tissues inducing both slow nuclear and rapid extra-nuclear responses. E2 binds to its cognate nuclear receptors (ER) resulting in the activation of target gene transcription in the nucleus. In addition to these genomic effects, E2 modulates cell functions through rapid non-genomic actions. Stimulation of G-proteins, Ca2+ influx, inositol phosphate generation as well as phospholipase C, ERK/MAPK, and PI3K/AKT activation all occur within seconds to minutes after E2 binding to a small population of ERα located at the plasma membrane. The great impact of these rapid signals on cell physiology renders central the knowledge of the structural bases and mechanisms that mediate extra-nuclear signaling by E2. Several laboratories, including our own, have recently elucidated the structural requirements for localization and function of plasma membrane ERα. This review summarizes the molecular mechanisms of E2-induced rapid non-genomic actions relevant for cell functions, highlighting the role of lipid modification (i.e., palmitoylation) in the ERα localization to and residence at the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • 17β-Estradiol
  • Estrogen receptor α
  • Plasma membrane localization
  • Rapid non-genomic actions
  • S-palmitoylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology


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