Bag1 is a regulator of heat shock protein 70 kDa (Hsp70/Hsc70) family proteins that interacts with steroid hormone receptors. Four isoforms of Bag1 have been recognized: Bag1, Bag1S, Bag1M (RAP46/HAP46), and Bag1L. Although Bag1L, Bag1M, and Bag1 can bind the androgen receptor (AR) in vitro, only Bag1L enhanced AR transcriptional activity. Bag1L was determined to be a nuclear protein by immunofluorescence microscopy, whereas Bag1, Bag1S, and Bag1M were predominantly cytoplasmic. Forced nuclear targeting of Bag1M, but not Bag1 or Bag1S, resulted in potent AR coactivation, indicating that Bag1M possesses the necessary structural features provided it is expressed within the nucleus. The ability of Bag1L to enhance AR activity was reduced with the removal of an NH(2)-terminal domain of Bag1L, which was found to be required for efficient nuclear localization and/or retention. In contrast, deletion of a conserved ubiquitin-like domain from Bag1L did not interfere with its nuclear targeting or AR regulatory activity. Thus, both the unique NH(2)-terminal domain and the COOH-terminal Hsc70-binding domain of Bag1L are simultaneously required for its function as an AR regulator, whereas the conserved ubiquitin-like domain is expendable.
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