Enigmas in the Molecular Biology of Androgen Action

  • H. G. Williams-Ashman
Conference paper


It has been said that a valuable scientific hypothesis is not so much a cogent explanation of phenomena as a successful policy for research. For more than fifteen years it has become increasingly accepted that control of gene expression mechanisms is a salient feature of androgen action, and that somehow or other, androgens profoundly influence the transcription of specific genes in the nuclei of target cells (Mainwaring 1977; Williams-Ashman 1965; Williams-Ashman and Reddi 1972). Around the turn of this decade, specific androgen-receptor proteins were discovered in a number of responsive tissues. These receptors interact firmly with testosterone and even more tenaciously with 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a major metabolite of circulating testosterone in many but not all androgen-sensitive cells. The androgen-receptor complexes are readily translocated into cell nuclei and retained there in association with chromatin (Jensen et al. 1977; Liao, 1975; Liao and Fang 1969; Mainwaring, 1977; Williams-Ashman 1975; Williams- Ashman and Reddi 1971; Wilson and Gloyna 1970). However despite various claims that DHT-receptor complexes can directly stimulate RNA polymerase reactions in isolated nuclear preparations, the mechanisms by which these hormones affect RNA transcription and processing in the nucleus remain enigmatic.


Androgen Receptor Cyproterone Acetate Androgen Action Urogenital Sinus Wolffian Duct 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1980

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  • H. G. Williams-Ashman

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