When androgen receptor containing cells are cultured in the presence of the PKA stimulator forskolin, a rapid dephosphorylation of the androgen receptor occurs resulting in a decrease in the amount of 112 kDa androgen receptor isoform and an increase in 110 kDa androgen-receptor isoform on SDS- PAGE. To establish which amino acid residues in the androgen receptor were phosphorylated in control and forskolin-treated cells, trypsin-digested androgen receptors were subjected to RP-HPLC analysis and subsequently to Edman degradation. It was observed that serine residues 506, 641, and 653 were potentially phosphorylated in control cells, while after forskolin treatment strong evidence was obtained that phosphorylation of serines 641 and 653 was significantly reduced. When the dephosphorylated androgen receptor was analyzed for its transcription activation capacity, it was observed that androgen-induced transcriptional regulation of two endogenous genes (PSA and β1-subunit of Na, K-ATPase), in cells cultured in the presence of forskolin, was inhibited as compared to the control situation. The observation that the dephosphorylated androgen receptor was transcriptionally less active was further strengthened by the finding that the dephosphorylated androgen receptor was markedly impaired in ligand binding (B(max) was found to be reduced by approximately 40%). The current investigations show for the first time a clear function for the rapid phosphorylation which occurs directly after synthesis of the androgen receptor, namely, effective ligand binding.