Transcriptional synergism between glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and octamer transcription factors 1 and 2 (Oct-1 and Oct-2) in the induction of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) transcription has been proposed to be mediated through directed recruitment of the octamer factors to their binding sites in the viral long terminal repeat. This recruitment correlates with direct binding between the GR DNA binding domain and the POU domain of the octamer factors. In present study, in vitro experiments identified several nuclear hormone receptors to have the potential to bind to the POU domains of Oct-1 and Oct-2 through their DNA binding domains, suggesting that POU domain binding may be a property shared by many nuclear hormone receptors. However, physiologically relevant binding to the POU domain appeared to be a property restricted to only a few nuclear receptors as only GR, progesterone receptor (PR), and androgen receptor (AR), were found to interact physically and functionally with Oct-1 and Oct-2 in transfected cells. Thus GR, PR, and AR efficiently promoted the recruitment of Oct-2 to adjacent octamer motifs in the cell, whereas mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), estrogen receptor alpha, and retinoid X receptor failed to facilitate octamer factor DNA binding. For MMTV, although GR and MR both induced transcription efficiently, mutation of the promoter proximal octamer motifs strongly decreased GR-induced transcription without affecting the total level of reporter gene activity in response to MR. These results suggest that the configuration of the hormone response element within the MMTV long terminal repeat may promote a dependence for the glucocorticoid response upon the recruitment of octamer transcription factors to their response elements within the viral promoter.