Androgen receptor gene mutations in androgen insensitivity syndrome cause distinct patterns of reduced activation of androgen-responsive promoter constructs

Ralf Werner, Jenny Schütt, Sabine Hannema, Albrecht Röpke, Peter Wieacker, Olaf Hiort, Paul Martin Holterhus

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Assessment of quantitative impairment of reporter gene activation is an important strategy proving pathogenetic relevance of androgen receptor (AR)-gene mutations in androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). We hypothesized the additional existence of mutation-specific patterns of reduced target gene activation. Four AR-gene mutations causing AIS, L712F, M780I, R855H, and V866M, respectively, were recreated in an AR-expression plasmid. Activation of three structurally different androgen-dependent promoters (MMTV, (ARE)2TATA, and GRE-OCT) was measured in transfected CHO-cells in response to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), testosterone, androstenedione and stanozolol (S). V866M showed the lowest activity across all conditions. R855H exhibited strikingly high activation of MMTV in response to DHT. M780I showed markedly low activation of (ARE)2TATA by S. L712F demonstrated high activation of GRE-OCT. In essence, each mutation was characterized in this model by a specific pattern of reduced reporter gene activation. Our AR crystal structure analyses showed that L712 and M780 may cause distinct alterations of AR-ligand- and AR-coregulator interaction interfaces supporting the experimental observations. Our data support the hypothesis that mutations of the AR-gene in AIS induce mutation-specific patterns of reduced promoter activation in vitro. Considering the diversity of natural androgen-regulated promoters, mutation-specific differences of androgen response patterns may be of relevance in vivo and consequently may influence the AIS-phenotype. Assessment of transactivation patterns in vitro may be an interesting concept to extend functional description of AR-gene mutations in AIS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • Activation pattern
  • Androgen insensitivity syndrome
  • Androgen receptor

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