The female sex steroid, estradiol 17beta, mediates its effect through its association with estrogen receptor present in the target cell. So far the major emphasis has been given to the genomic actions of the hormone mediated by the nuclear estrogen receptors. Recent years have seen a shift in the ideas revealing the existence of estradiol binding entities both in the plasma membrane and the endoplasmic reticulum. Though the true identity of this membrane associated receptors is far from being known, a functional role for the same have been implicated both at the genomic as well as the non-genomic level. The major focus of the review is to highlight the existence of membrane associated estrogen receptors and receptor-related proteins and the functional roles played by some of them. The signalling events exerted by this class of membrane associated estrogen receptor could partly explain the physiological significance of estrogen in cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer as well as the molecular mechanism associated with xenoestrogen action.