The Male Tree of Life
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"My research investigates the estrogen receptor-α (ERαsignaling mechanisms that regulate prostate gland development and growth. ERα actions can be mediated through both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent activation. In short, estrogen-dependent activation occurs through the classical nuclear pathway involving estrogen response elements (EREs) on regulated genes, nuclear ERE-independent pathways and/or through cell membrane initiated pathways. Conversely, estrogen-independent activation is driven through growth factor induced phosphorylation of ERα at serine 118. To determine whether estrogen dependent and/or ligand independent actions of ERα are involved in prostate branching morphogenesis, I am comparing the prostate glands of male estrogen nonresponsive ERα knock-in (ENERKI) mice with wild type (WT) littermates. This image documents the enlarged lumens of a ventral prostate (VP) from a peri-pubertal ENERKI mouse. Though this image, I am able to show that ERα activated by endogenous estrogens is involved in normal branching morphogenesis. This image was obtained after careful microdissection of the VP of an ENERKI mouse."