We previously reported that testicular zinc finger protein (TZF) is a corepressor for androgen receptor (AR). The present study demonstrated that a central portion (amino acids 512-663) of TZF, TZF(512-663), is responsible for both binding to AR and repressing the transactivation. TZF recruited endogenous histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) and formed a complex with agonist-bound AR. Imaging analyses showed that TZF and TZF(512-663) were recruited by AR and simultaneously impaired distinct AR foci formation. Quantification of the foci number using a three-dimensional imaging method revealed that the number of intranuclear AR foci was related to its transactivation activity. Moreover, increased levels of TZF dissociated a coactivator, TIF2, from the AR foci and vice versa. These results indicate that the ligand-dependent transactivation function of AR is quantitatively related to its intranuclear foci formation, and suggest that corepressors, such as TZF, act on these intranuclear events competitively with coactivators. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.