Androgen and androgen receptor (AR) play an important role in sexual differentiation and prostate proliferation. To investigate AR gene transcriptional regulation, a 2.3-kilobase AR gene promoter region was isolated, sequenced, and characterized. Chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) assay and sequence homology search of AR gene promoter among human, rat, and mouse revealed some potential cis-acting elements, including a GC box, a suppressor region, and a purine-rich element. Deletion analysis and gel retardation assay using a 50-base pair (bp) double-strand purine-rich element showed that this purine-rich element can bind to specific proteins in nuclear extract of LNCaP and HeLa cells and may be essential for AR gene transcription. Furthermore, to investigate the effect of cAMP on AR gene transcription, we treated LNCaP and HeLa cells with 10 mM (Bu)2cAMP after transfection with CAT gene reporter plasmids linked to the AR gene promoter. This treatment induced several folds of CAT activity in LNCaP cells only, and the induction was further confirmed at AR mRNA level by Northern blot analysis and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay. Deletion analysis of the AR gene promoter showed that a region between 530 bp and 380 bp upstream of AR gene transcription initiation site, which includes one potential cAMP response element (CRE), is responsible for cAMP induction. Gel retardation analysis using this CRE (AR/CRE1) showed that AR/CRE1 can bind to specific proteins in nuclear extract of LNCaP cells, which appears to form a different binding complex compared to somatostatin/CRE.