DNA-binding domain of androgen receptor (AR) is composed of two C4-type zinc fingers
DNA-binding domain of androgen receptor (AR) is composed of two C4-type zinc fingers. Each zinc finger contains a group of four Cys residues which co-ordinates a single zinc atom. To regulate gene expression, AR interacts with a palindrome of the core sequence 5'-TGTTCT-3' with a 3-bp spacer. It also binds to the direct repeat 5'-TGTTCT-3' hexamer in some androgen controlled genes. AR is activated by the androgenic hormones, testosterone or dihydrotestosterone, which are responsible for primary and for secondary male characteristics, respectively. The primary mechanism of action of ARs is by direct regulation of gene transcription. The binding of androgen results in a conformational change in the androgen receptor which causes its transport from the cytosol into the cell nucleus, and dimerization. The receptor dimer binds to a hormone response element of AR regulated genes and modulates their expression. Another mode of action of androgen receptor is independent of their interactions with DNA. The receptor interacts directly with signal transduction proteins in the cytoplasm, causing rapid changes in cell function, such as ion transport. Like other members of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors, AR has a central well conserved DNA binding domain (DBD), a variable N-terminal domain, a flexible hinge and a C-terminal ligand binding domain (LBD).