An N-terminal truncated androgen receptor with putative DNA- and ligand-binding domains (AR438) and that with a ligand-binding domain (AR612) were expressed under control of the T7 promoter in E. coli or translated in vitro with rabbit reticulocyte lysate, and their ligand-binding properties and the interaction with HSP90 were investigated. Bacterially expressed AR438 and AR612 bound a synthetic androgen, [3H]R1881, with apparent dissociation constants of 2.6 +/- 0.2 and 3.1 +/- 0.7 nM, respectively, values which are comparable to those of androgen receptor in target tissues. The recombinant androgen receptors sedimented at the 4-5 S region irrespective of the presence of 10 mM tungstate, indicating that the receptor exists free from HtpG, which is the bacterial homolog of eukaryotic HSP90. The apparent dissociation constant of truncated androgen receptors translated in vitro was 0.1 nM for AR438 and 0.2 nM for AR612. Sedimentation coefficients of in vitro translated molecules were converted from 7-8 S in the presence of tungstate to 3 S in the absence of tungstate. Both AR438 and AR612 translated in vitro were retained by anti-rat HSP90 antibody-protein A Sepharose. Exposure to 0.3 M NaCl in the presence of ligand caused dissociation of AR438 and AR612 from HSP90, and concomitantly, the DNA-cellulose binding ability of AR438 was enhanced. Thus, we conclude that the androgen receptor associates with HSP90 through the ligand-binding domain and that this association prevents the interaction of the androgen receptor with DNA. However, HSP90 seems to have little effect on the ligand-binding characteristics of the androgen receptor.
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