A surface on the androgen receptor that allosterically regulates coactivator binding

Eva Estébanez-Perpiñá, Leggy A. Arnold, Phuong Nguyen, Edson Delgado Rodrigues, Ellena Mar, Raynard Bateman, Peter Pallai, Kevan M. Shokat, John D. Baxter, R. Kiplin Guy, Paul Webb, Robert J. Fletterick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

245 Scopus citations


Current approaches to inhibit nuclear receptor (NR) activity target the hormone binding pocket but face limitations. We have proposed that inhibitors, which bind to nuclear receptor surfaces that mediate assembly of the receptor's binding partners, might overcome some of these limitations. The androgen receptor (AR) plays a central role in prostate cancer, but conventional inhibitors lose effectiveness as cancer treatments because anti-androgen resistance usually develops. We conducted functional and x-ray screens to identify compounds that bind the AR surface and block binding of coactivators for AR activation function 2 (AF-2). Four compounds that block coactivator binding in solution with IC50 ≈ 50 μM and inhibit AF-2 activity in cells were detected: three nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and the thyroid hormone 3,3′,5-triiodothyroacetic acid. Although visualization of compounds at the AR surface reveals weak binding at AF-2, the most potent inhibitors bind preferentially to a previously unknown regulatory surface cleft termed binding function (BF)-3, which is a known target for mutations in prostate cancer and androgen insensitivity syndrome. X-ray structural analysis reveals that 3,3′,5-triiodothyroacetic acid binding to BF-3 remodels the adjacent interaction site AF-2 to weaken coactivator binding. Mutation of residues that form BF-3 inhibits AR function and AR AF-2 activity. We propose that BF-3 is a previously unrecognized allosteric regulatory site needed for AR activity in vivo and a possible pharmaceutical target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16074-16079
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 9 2007


  • Antagonist
  • Antiandrogens
  • High-throughput screening
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Regulatory surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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