Differences in steroid specificity for rat androgen binding protein and the cytoplasmic receptor

G. R. Cunningham, D. J. Tindall, A. R. Means

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Scopus citations


Two proteins in the rat, androgen binding protein (ABP) and the cytoplasmic receptor (CR), have high affinity and limited capacity for binding androgens. To determine the structural requirements for binding with high affinity, each protein was partially purified and the ability of over 100 steroids to compete with [3H]dihydrotestosterone (17β-hydroxy-5α-androstan-3-one) for binding sites was assessed. The results indicate marked differences in the steroid specificities of the two proteins. Some alterations of dihydrotestosterone at C-2 or C-2 and C-3 increase binding to ABP two to four-fold. Similarly, the affinity of 17β-hydroxy-7α-methyl-4-estren-3-one for ABP increases two-fold when a double bond is created at C-14. Addition of a methyl group in the alpha position at C-7 or C-17, or an ethinyl group at C-17 cause little change in affinity; however, modifications at C-11 and C-17β, and deletion of the methyl group at C-10 significantly impair binding to ABP. Binding to the CR is maintained or increased by deletion of the methyl group at C-10. Binding is lessened by modifications at C-3 and C-17β. Most alterations at C-2, C-7, C-11, and C-17α have only minor effects on binding to the CR. These studies should provide a molecular basis for predicting the effects of specific structural modifications. When some modifications at C-2 or C-2 and C-3 are combined with changes at C-17β, the resulting steroids retain very high affinity for ABP and very limited binding to the CR. Such steroids may provide a means for assessing the function of ABP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology

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