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We have previously identified a family of novel androgen receptor (AR) ligands that, upon binding, enable AR to adopt structures distinct from that observed in the presence of canonical agonists. In this report, we describe the use of these compounds to establish a relationship between AR structure and biological activity with a view to defining a rational approach with which to identify useful selective AR modulators. To this end, we used combinatorial peptide phage display coupled with molecular dynamic structure analysis to identify the surfaces on AR that are exposed specifically in the presence of selected AR ligands. Subsequently, we used a DNA microarray analysis to demonstrate that differently conformed receptors facilitate distinct patterns of gene expression in LNCaP cells. Interestingly, we observed a complete overlap in the identity of genes expressed after treatment with mechanistically distinct AR ligands. However, it was differences in the kinetics of gene regulation that distinguished these compounds. Follow-up studies, in cell-based assays of AR action, confirmed the importance of these alterations in gene expression. Together, these studies demonstrate an important link between AR structure, gene expression, and biological outcome. This relationship provides a firm underpinning for mechanism-based screens aimed at identifying SARMs with useful clinical profiles.


This article was originally published in Molecular Endocrinology, volume 20, issue 6, in 2006. DOI: 10.1210/me.2005-0309


Endocrine Society



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