In 2005, two groups independently discovered that the G protein-coupled receptor GPR30 binds estradiol in cultured cells and, in response, initiates intracellular signaling cascades Revankar et al. (2005), Thomas et al. (2005). GPR30 is now referred to as GPER, the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor Prossnitz and Arterburn (2015). While studies in animal models are illuminating GPER function, there is controversy as to whether GPER acts as an autonomous estrogen receptor in vivo, or whether GPER interacts with nuclear estrogen receptor signaling pathways in response to estrogens. Here, we review the evidence that GPER acts as an autonomous estrogen receptor in vivo and discuss experimental approaches to test this hypothesis directly. We propose that the degree to which GPER influences nuclear estrogen receptor signaling likely depends on cell type, developmental stage and pathology.
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