When unliganded glucocorticoid receptor that has been stripped free of associated proteins is incubated with rabbit reticulocyte lysate, the receptor becomes associated with the 70- and 90-kDa heat shock proteins (hsp70 and hsp90), and the untransformed state of the receptor is functionally reconstituted [Scherrer, L. C., Dalman, F. C., Massa, E., Meshinchi, S., & Pratt, W. B. (1990) J. Biol. Chem. 265, 21397-21400]. Recently, an hsp70-containing protein complex (200-250 kDa) purified from rabbit reticulocyte lysate was shown to maintain a fusion protein bearing the mitochondrial matrix-targeting signal in a state that is competent for mitochondrial import [Sheffield, W. P., Shore, G. C., & Randall, S. K. (1990) J. Biol. Chem. 265, 11069-11076]. In this work, we show that this partially purified mitochondrial import-competent fraction contains both hsp90 and hsp70. When the purified fraction is immunoadsorbed with a monoclonal antibody specific for hsp90, a significant portion of the hsp70 is co-immunoadsorbed, suggesting that hsp90 and hsp70 are present together as a complex. The partially purified fraction maintains a hybrid precursor protein containing the mitochondrial matrix-targeting signal of rat pre-ornithine carbamyl transferase in an import-competent state. Incubation of immunopurified glucocorticoid receptor with this fraction of reticulocyte lysate results in ATP-dependent association of the receptor with both hsp70 and hsp90, and the resulting complexes are functional as assessed by return of the receptor to the high-affinity steroid binding conformation. The glucocorticoid receptor hetero-complex reconstituting activity of the lysate fraction is low relative to its mitochondrial import activity. Importantly, however, this is the first demonstration of the functional and structural reconstitution of the untransformed state of any steroid receptor utilizing a partially purified system.