Biochemical Society Transactions vol:34 issue:Pt 6 pages:1089-1094
The AR (androgen receptor) is a hormone-dependent transcription factor that translates circulating androgen hormone levels into a physiological cellular response by directly regulating the expression of its target genes. It is the key molecule in e.g. the development and maintenance of the male sexual characteristics, spermatocyte production and prostate gland development and growth. It is also a major factor in the onset and maintenance of prostate cancer and a first target for pharmaceutical action against the further proliferation of prostate cancer cells. The AR is a member of the steroid hormone receptors, a group of steroid-inducible transcription factors sharing an identical consensus DNA-binding motif. The problem of how specificity in gene activation is achieved among the different members of this nuclear receptor subfamily is still unclear. In this report, we describe our investigations on how the AR can specifically activate its target genes, while the other steroid hormone receptors do not, despite having the same consensus monomeric DNA-binding motif. In this respect, we describe how the AR interacts with a newly identified class of steroid-response elements to which only the AR and not, for example, the glucocorticoid receptor can bind.