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Rosalia C M Simmen and Angela S Kelley

Enhanced inflammation and reduced apoptosis sustain the growth of endometriotic lesions. Alterations in the expression of estrogen receptor-alpha (ERα) and estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) accompany the conversion of resident endometrial cells within the normal uterine environment to ectopic lesions located in extrauterine sites. Recent studies highlighted in this focused review linked ERβ to dysregulation of apoptotic and inflammatory networks involving novel interacting partners in endometriosis. The elucidation of these nongenomic actions of ERβ using human cells and mouse models is an important step in understanding key regulatory pathways that are disrupted leading to disease establishment and progression.

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Frank A Simmen, Iad Alhallak, and Rosalia C M Simmen

Malic enzyme 1 (ME1) is a cytosolic protein that catalyzes the conversion of malate to pyruvate while concomitantly generating NADPH from NADP. Early studies identified ME1 as a mediator of intermediary metabolism primarily through its participatory roles in lipid and cholesterol biosynthesis. ME1 was one of the first identified insulin-regulated genes in liver and adipose and is a transcriptional target of thyroxine. Multiple studies have since documented that ME1 is pro-oncogenic in numerous epithelial cancers. In tumor cells, the reduction of ME1 gene expression or the inhibition of its activity resulted in decreases in proliferation, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and in vitro migration, and conversely, in promotion of oxidative stress, apoptosis and/or cellular senescence. Here, we integrate recent findings to highlight ME1’s role in oncogenesis, provide a rationale for its nexus with metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and raise the prospects of targeting the cytosolic NADPH network to improve therapeutic approaches against multiple cancers.

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Rosalia C M Simmen, Melissa E Heard, Angela M Simmen, Maria Theresa M Montales, Meera Marji, Samantha Scanlon, and John Mark P Pabona

Female reproductive tract pathologies arise largely from dysregulation of estrogen and progesterone receptor signaling, leading to aberrant cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation. The signaling pathways orchestrated by these nuclear receptors are complex, require the participation of many nuclear proteins serving as key binding partners or targets, and involve a range of paracrine and autocrine regulatory circuits. The members of the Krüppel-like factor (KLF) family of transcription factors are ubiquitously expressed in reproductive tissues and have been increasingly implicated as critical co-regulators and integrators of steroid hormone actions. Herein, we explore the involvement of KLF family members in uterine pathology, describe their currently known molecular mechanisms, and discuss their potential as targets for therapeutic intervention.