The repression mechanisms by the nuclear receptor compressor (N-CoR) of steroid hormone receptor (SHR)-mediated transactivation were examined. Yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-N-CoR was distributed as intranuclear discrete dots, while coexpression of androgen receptor (AR), glucocorticoid receptor alpha, and estrogen receptor alpha ligand-dependently triggered redistribution of YFP-N-CoR. In fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis, mobility of the N-CoR was reduced by 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-bound AR. The middle region of N-CoR mostly contributed to the interactiou with agonist-bound SHRs and the suppression of their transactivation function. N-CoR impaired the DHT-induced N-C interaction of AR, and the impaired interaction was dose-dependently recovered by coexpression of SRC-1 and CBP. N-CoR also impaired the intranuclear complete (distinct) focus formation of SHRs. Coexpression of SRC-1 or CBP released YFP-N-CoR or endogenous N-CoR from incomplete foci and simultaneously recovered complete foci of AR-green fluorescent protein. These results indicate that the relative ratio of coactivators and corepressors determines the conformational equilibrium between transcriptionally active and inactive SHRs in the presence of agonists. The intranuclear foci formed by agonist-bound SHRs wen! completely destroyed by actinomycin D and a-amanitin, indicating that the focus formation does not precede the transcriptional activation. The focus formation may reflect the accumulation of SHR/coactivator complexes released from the transcriptionally active sites and thus be a mirror of transcriptionally active complex formation.