Binding studies with [3H]dexamethasone† identified a class of binding sites on male rat liver microsomes. The binding sites were glucocorticoid-dependent and specific for glucocorticoids and progestins. Scatchard binding parameters, competition studies with triamcinolone acetonide, a synthetic glucocorticoid which competes well for the glucocorticoid receptor, and immunoblotting with an antiglucocorticoid receptor antibody indicated that these sites are distinct from the cytosolic glucocorticoid receptor. Affinity labelling experiments with [3H]dexamethasone 21-mesylate revealed two specifically labelled peptides, one at approx. 66 kDa and a doublet at 45 kDa. The 66 kDa peptide had been previously identified in serum and may be present as a result of serum contamination of the microsomal preparation. The 45 kDa doublet, on the other hand, had been shown to be absent from rat serum. The characteristics of the 45 kDa peptide(s) were identical to those of the dexamethasone binding site identified in the binding studies. [3H]Dexamethasone binding characteristics and affinity labelling of microsomal subfractions, separated by isopycnic centrifugation, showed that the binding sites are located in the endoplasmic reticulum. The identification and role of the 45 kDa peptide doublet remain to be determined.
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