Cloning and characterization of an androgen receptor N-terminal-interacting protein with ubiquitin-protein ligase activity

J Mol Endocrinol. 2002 Aug;29(1):41-60. doi: 10.1677/jme.0.0290041.


The androgen receptor (AR) N-terminal domain plays a critical role in androgen-responsive gene regulation. A novel AR N-terminal-interacting protein (ARNIP) was isolated using the yeast two-hybrid system and its interaction with amino acids 11-172 of the normal or corresponding region of the polyglutamine-expanded human AR confirmed by glutathione S-transferase pulldown assays. ARNIP cDNAs cloned from NSC-34 (mouse neuroblastoma/spinal cord) or PC-3 (human prostate adenocarcinoma) mRNA encoded highly homologous 30 kDa (261 amino acids) cysteine-rich proteins with a RING-H2 (C3H2C3 zinc finger) domain; this motif is highly conserved in predicted ARNIP-homologous proteins from several other species. Expression of the approximately 1.7 kb ARNIP mRNA was detected in various tissues by Northern blotting, but was highest in mouse testes, kidney and several neuronal cell lines. In addition, the human ARNIP protein was found to be encoded by nine exons spanning 32 kb on chromosome 4q21. In COS-1 cells, coexpression of ARNIP and AR did not affect AR ligand-binding kinetics, nor did ARNIP act as a coactivator or corepressor in transactivation assays. However, AR N-terminal:C-terminal interaction was reduced in the presence of ARNIP. Intriguingly, ARNIP, and in particular its RING-H2 domain, functioned as a ubiquitin-protein ligase in vitro in the presence of a specific ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, Ubc4-1. Mutation of a single cysteine residue in the ARNIP RING-H2 domain (Cys145Ala) abolished this E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Fluorescent protein tagging studies revealed that AR-ARNIP interaction was hormone-independent in COS-1 cells, and suggest that colocalization of both AR and ARNIP to the nucleus upon androgen addition may allow ARNIP to play a role in nuclear processes. Thus, identification of a novel AR-interacting protein with ubiquitin ligase activity will stimulate further investigation into the role of ubiquitination and the ubiquitin-proteasome system in AR-mediated cellular functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Ligases / genetics
  • Ligases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Androgen / chemistry
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases


  • Androgens
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Transcription Factors
  • TMF1 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Ligases