1. A competitive binding assay was adapted for determination of the specific binding of glucocorticoids to cytoplasmic receptors from rat thymus cells. The steroid–receptor complexes prepared by incubation of a cytoplasmic fraction from rat thymus cells with [1,2-3H2]cortisol or with [1,2,4-3H3]triamcinolone acetonide had rates of dissociation at 37°C similar to those from intact cells. 2. The cytoplasmic receptor was unstable at 3°C, but the rate of inactivation was decreased in the presence of 2.5mm-EDTA. The steroid–receptor complex was stable. 3. Rate constants for association and for dissociation, and association constants, were determined for the interactions of cortisol, cortexolone, dexamethasone and triamcinolone acetonide with the cytoplasmic receptor at 3°C. Differences in the association constants for different steroids could largely be accounted for by the differences in the rate constants for dissociation, but the rate constants for association did not vary greatly; the implications of these findings for the nature of the steroid-binding site are discussed. 4. A cytoplasmic fraction prepared from cells which had been incubated at 37°C under anaerobic conditions bound much less [1,2-3H2]cortisol than did a fraction from aerobic cells, but the binding capacity was restored after exposure of the anaerobic cells to O2. 5. The specific binding of [1,2-3H2]-cortisol to intact thymus cells incubated aerobically was not affected by the presence of 0.1mm-cycloheximide, nor did this concentration of cycloheximide inhibit the recovery of specific binding observed when anaerobic cells were transferred to an aerobic atmosphere. 6. The energy dependence of specific binding of cortisol to the receptor is discussed with reference to possible mechanisms.

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