Context: Recent imaging studies revealed that androgen receptor (AR) is ligand-dependently translocated from the cytoplasm into the nucleus and forms intranuclear fine foci. In this study, we examined whether intracellular dynamics of mutant ARs detected in two androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) patients was impaired.
Objective: ARs with mutations in the DNA-binding domain were functionally characterized and compared with the wild-type AR.
Patients: In a complete AIS patient ( subject 1), cysteine residue 579 in the first zinc finger motif of AR was substituted for phenylalanine (AR-C579F). Another mutation (AR-F582Y) was found in a partial AIS patient (subject 2).
Results: AR-F582Y retained less than 10% of the transactivation activity of the wild-type AR, whereas no ligand-dependent transactivation was detected for AR-C579F. Image analyses of the receptors fused to green fluorescent protein showed that the wild-type AR was ligand-dependently translocated into the nucleus in which it formed fine subnuclear foci. Surprisingly, after the addition of dihydrotestosterone, the two mutant ARs initially formed large cytoplasmic dots, many of which were found to be close to mitochondria by electron microscopy. Subsequently, a part of the ligand-bound mutant ARs gradually entered the nucleus to form a smaller number of larger dots, compared with the wild-type AR. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis revealed that the intranuclear mobility of the mutant ARs decreased, compared with that of the wild-type AR.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the abnormal translocation, localization, and mobility of the mutant ARs may be the cause of AIS in these subjects.