Androgens are critical in the development and maintenance of the male reproductive system and important in the progression of prostate cancer. The effects of androgens are mediated through the androgen receptor (AR), which is a ligand-modulated transcription factor that belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily. In addition to its ability to activate transcription from androgen response elements, AR can inhibit activator protein-1 (AP-1) activity, composed of Jun and Fos oncoproteins, in a ligand-dependent manner. Conversely, when activated, AP-1 can block AR activity. We found that CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) binding protein (CBP) had a direct role in both of these activities of AR. CBP significantly increased the ability of endogenous AR in LNCaP cells to activate transcription from an AR-dependent reporter construct. On the other hand, repression of AR activity by treatment of LNCaP cells with an activator of AP-1 was largely relieved when CBP was ectopically expressed. AR and CBP can physically interact in vitro as was shown in glutathione S-transferase pulldown assays. Whereas both the N terminus and ligand-binding domain of AR can interact with CBP, a short region in the N terminus of CBP is required for these interactions. As opposed to the interaction of CBP with other nuclear receptors studied so far, CBP-AR interactions were not affected by ligand binding to AR in vitro. These data suggest that CBP is a coactivator for AR in vivo and that the transcriptional interference between AR and AP-1 is the result of competition for limiting amounts of CBP in the cell.
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