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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Analysis of steroid- and DNA-binding domains of the calf uterine androgen receptor by limited proteolysis.

The DNA-binding form of the calf uterine androgen receptor ( AR) was subjected to limited protease digestion using chymotrypsin, trypsin and a rat prostate cytosol protease. The properties of the generated polypeptide fragments were identified and compared with those of the intact AR. Physicochemical characterization was achieved through sedimentation analysis, gel filtration chromatography and DEAE anion exchange chromatography. Intactness of functional binding domains was evaluated by measuring the retention of steroid- and DNA-binding capacity. Under non-denaturing conditions the intact AR is a highly asymmetrical molecule with a Stokes radius (RS) of 45A, a sedimentation coefficient of 4.3S and a relative molecular mass of 80,000 daltons. This form of AR has an intrinsic binding affinity for DNA and was eluted from DNA-cellulose with 9 mM MgCl2. Chymotrypsin produced a more globular polypeptide (RS: 31A; 3.1S; 41,000 daltons) with a decreased net negative charge. This fragment also displayed DNA-binding affinity but required a higher concentration of MgCl2 (14 mM) for DNA-cellulose elution, indicating an increased affinity for DNA. The observed reduction in molecular size upon chymotrypsin treatment was confirmed when analysed by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis after covalently labelling of the AR with [3H]R1881. Rat prostate cytosol contains a protease which is very active in generating an AR polypeptide with an increased affinity for DNA, without changing the AR net negative charge (RS: 33A; 3.7S; 51,000 daltons). The specificity of this protease remained unknown since none of a large number of inhibitors was able to inactivate this enzyme. The fragment generated is different from that obtained with chymotrypsin since significant differences in size as well as in charge were measured. Trypsin treatment generated a much smaller polypeptide (RS: 25A; 2.9S; 30,000 daltons) which had lost its DNA-binding capacity, but not its steroid binding site. This form probably represents the so-called meroreceptor. When intact AR was treated sequentially with prostate cytosol and trypsin, a polypeptide fragment with identical properties was obtained, indicating the spatial separation of two of the proteolytic cleavage sites. These studies provide evidence for the distinct nature of the molecular domains for androgen and DNA interaction on the calf uterine AR.[1]


  1. Analysis of steroid- and DNA-binding domains of the calf uterine androgen receptor by limited proteolysis. de Boer, W., Bolt, J., Kuiper, G.G., Brinkmann, A.O., Mulder, E. J. Steroid Biochem. (1987) [Pubmed]
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