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Edwin R. Sanchez, PhD, Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and Vice Director of CeDER.
Dr. Sanchez received his PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan in 1983, where he subsequently carried out a post-doctoral fellowship and served as Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Pharmacology until he joined the University of Toledo College of Medicine at the rank of Assistant Professor in 1989.
Dr. Sanchez’s research focuses on the steroid hormone receptors, with an emphasis on the tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) proteins that act as molecular chaperones to the receptors. These chaperone proteins include: FK506-binding protein 52 (FKBP52), FKBP51, protein phosphatase 5 (PP5) and cyclophilin 40 (Cyp40).
Steroid hormones are a large class of cholesterol-derived molecules, which serve to control the functional states of a variety of cells and target tissues. These hormones include progestins, estrogens, androgens, mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. Many important endocrine and physiological processes are controlled by these hormones, including immunity and inflammation, glucose and fatty acid metabolism, male and female reproduction, and blood pressure. The central thrust of the research program is to understand how the TPR chaperones described above contribute to the actions of steroid receptors at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels.
The most recent findings at the Sanchez laboratory suggest that the TPR chaperones act as tissue-selective modulators of steroid receptor physiology. FKBP52 was found to exert a stimulatory effect on progesterone receptor action only in the uterus and not in other female reproductive organs. Similarly, FKBP52 is needed for the androgen receptor contribution to embryonic development of select male reproductive organs, such as the prostate gland, but not others. Both FKBP51 and Cyp40 were found to be critically important to androgen receptor action in the adult prostate gland, and may be key factors necessary for the onset and progression of prostate cancer.
Most recently, the laboratory has uncovered an interesting and unique reciprocal relationship between FKBP52 and FKBP51 on the activity of glucocorticoid receptors in liver, muscle and adipose tissues. Reciprocal modulation of the glucocorticoid receptor is such that these two chaperones serve to either increase or decrease the involvement of glucocorticoid receptors in development of metabolic syndrome and propensity to type 2 diabetes.
Taken as a whole, this investigative effort has identified TPR proteins as novel and potentially important targets for drug development against male and female infertility, prostate cancer, and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.
Dr. Sanchez has authored 68 peer-reviewed articles. His research has been continuously funded by grants from the NIH.