Androgen receptor (AR) belongs to the steroid hormone nuclear receptor superfamily. It functions as an androgen-dependent transcriptional factor that regulates genes for cell proliferation and differentiation. Caveolin is a principal component of caveolae membranes serving as a scaffold protein of many signal transduction pathways. Recent results correlate caveolin-1 expression with androgen sensitivity in murine prostate cancer. Furthermore, immunohistochemical staining of patient specimens suggests that caveolin expression may be an independent predictor of progression of prostate cancer. In this study, we investigate the potential interactions between AR signaling and caveolin-1 and demonstrate that overexpression of caveolin-1 potentiates ligand-dependent AR activation. Conversely, down-regulation of caveolin-1 expression by a caveolin-1 antisense expression construct can down-regulate ligand-dependent AR activation. Association between these two molecules is also demonstrated by co-localization of AR with caveolin-rich, low-density membrane fractions isolated by an equilibrium sucrose gradient centrifugation method. Co-immunoprecipitation and glutathione S-transferase fusion protein pull-down experiments demonstrate that interaction between AR and caveolin-1 is an androgen-dependent process, offering further evidence for a physiological role of this interaction. Using a mammalian two-hybrid assay system, we determine that the NH(2) terminus region of caveolin-1 is responsible for the interaction with both the NH(2)-terminal domain and the ligand-binding domain of AR.
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