The AR (androgen receptor) belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily and directly regulates patterns of gene expression in response to the steroids testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Sequences within the large N-terminal domain of the receptor have been shown to be important for transactivation and protein–protein interactions; however, little is known about the structure and folding of this region. Folding of the AR transactivation domain was observed in the presence of the helix-stabilizing solvent trifluorethanol and the natural osmolyte TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide). TMAO resulted in the movement of two tryptophan residues to a less solvent-exposed environment and the formation of a protease-resistant conformation. Critically, binding to a target protein, the RAP74 subunit of the general transcription factor TFIIF, resulted in a similar resistance to protease digestion, consistent with induced folding of the receptor transactivation domain. Our current hypothesis is that the folding of the transactivation domain in response to specific protein–protein interactions creates a platform for subsequent interactions, resulting in the formation of a competent transcriptional activation complex.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.