Editors' ChoiceDevelopmental Biology

Estrogen Receptors and Development

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Science's STKE  21 Dec 1999:
Vol. 1999, Issue 13, pp. tw6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.1999.13.tw6

Estrogen is a steroid hormone produced by the ovaries that binds to the estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ. Knockout studies have used homologous recombination to eliminate either version of ER from the mouse to determine the roles of these receptors, but the interpretation of these studies has not been straightforward because ERα and Erbβ may have compensatory roles in development and because the remaining receptor could interact with maternal estrogen. Couse et al. have now used homologous recombination to produce the double-knockout mouse αβERKO. The resultant males were infertile and resembled αERKO males. The prepubertal females displayed a relatively normal reproductive tract, but the adult females displayed an ovarian phenotype in which redifferentiation was taking place: The follicles degenerated into seminiferous tubule-like structures like those of the testis and contained cells with a Sertoli cell phenotype. Hence, both ERs are required for ovarian function and oocyte survival in the adult.

Couse, J.F., Hewitt, S.C., Bunch, D.O., Sar, M., Walker, V.R., Davis, B.J., and Korach, K.S. (1999) Postnatal sex reversal of the ovaries in mice lacking estrogen receptors α and β. Science 286: 2328-2331. [Abstract] [Full Text]

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