Androgen-regulated gene expression is a highly coordinated dynamic process mediated by androgen receptor (AR) ligand binding and DNA binding, and by specific AR protein-protein interactions. The latter include DNA-binding domain (D-box) interactions in AR homodimers, and the interaction of the FQNLF motif in the AR N-terminal domain and the coactivator groove in the ligand-binding domain (N/C interaction). We have studied these interactions in AR homodimerization using quantitative imaging techniques. We found that the initial cytoplasmic intramolecular AR N/C interaction after ligand binding is followed by a D-box-dimerization-dependent transition to intermolecular N/C interaction in a proportion of nuclear ARs. The consecutive steps leading to homodimerization are initiated prior to DNA binding. Our data indicate the presence of nuclear pools of both AR homodimers and monomers. On the basis of AR-regulated reporter assays we propose specificity in regulation of gene expression by AR homodimers and monomers mediated by AR domain interactions. Moreover, our findings elucidate important steps in the spatiotemporal organization of AR intra- and intermolecular interactions.

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Journal of Cell Science
Department of Pathology

Royen, M.E, van Cappellen, W.A, de Vos, C, Houtsmuller, A.B, & Trapman, J. (2012). Stepwise androgen receptor dimerization. Journal of Cell Science, 125(8), 1970–1979. doi:10.1242/jcs.096792