A direct beta-catenin-independent interaction between androgen receptor and T cell factor 4.
T cell factor (Tcf) proteins bind beta-catenin and are downstream effectors of Wnt/beta-catenin signals. A recently demonstrated interaction between beta-catenin and the androgen receptor (AR) ligand binding domain has suggested that AR may be a Tcf-independent Wnt/beta-catenin effector. This study demonstrates that there is a direct interaction between the AR DNA binding domain (DBD) and Tcf4. Tcf4 bound specifically to a glutathione S-transferase-ARDBD fusion protein and could be coimmunoprecipitated with beta-catenin and transfected AR or endogenous AR in prostate cancer cells. Transfected Tcf4 repressed the transcriptional activity of full-length AR and a VP16-ARDBD fusion protein, and this repression was only partially reversed by transfected beta-catenin. AR activation by cyproterone acetate, a partial agonist that did not support beta-catenin binding to the AR, was also repressed by Tcf4, further indicating that repression was not due to beta-catenin sequestration. Tcf4 could recruit beta-catenin to the AR DBD in vitro and to the cyproterone acetate-liganded AR in vivo. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments in LNCaP prostate cancer cells showed that endogenous AR was bound to a Tcf4-responsive element in the c-myc promoter. These findings indicate that AR and Tcf4 can interact directly and that this interaction may occur on the promoters or enhancers of particular genes. The direct AR-Tcf4 interaction, in conjunction AR- and Tcf4-beta-catenin binding, provides a mechanism for cooperative and selective gene regulation by AR and the Wnt/beta-catenin-Tcf pathway that may contribute to normal and neoplastic prostate growth.