Institute of Biological and Chemical Systems - Biological Information Processing

Molecular mechanism of steroid hormone action


     Group Leader: Andrew C. Cato

     tel.: +49 721 608 22146 (office)
     fax: +49 721 608 23354
     email: andrew.cato∂



Steroid hormones regulate many physiological processes ranging from the control of carbohydrate metabolism, body homeostasis, sexual development and differentiation to mediation of stress response. They function by prior interaction with their corresponding receptors and subsequent alteration of gene expression. Alterations in expression of specific genes resulting from malfunction of steroid hormone receptors lead in many cases to various physiological disorders.


The aim of this laboratory is to study the molecular action of steroid receptors in normal and pathophysiological situation with a view of identifying the causes of several hormone-controlled physiological defects.


The main topics being investigated at the moment are:

  • The molecular mechanism of the anti-inflammatory action of glucocorticoids.
  • Analysis of the molecular action of naturally occurring androgen receptors in patients with various forms of androgen insensitivity and Kennedy's disease.
  • Molecular action of the androgen receptor in prostate cancer.



Figure:  Confocal immunofluorescence picture showing colocalization of a liganded glucocorticoid receptor with the chaperone Hsp70 in nuclei of COS-7 cells. The yellow colour indicate the nuclei of the COS-7 cells containing liganded GFP-tagged human glucocorticoid receptor (green florescence) and LDH-tagged human Hsp70 proteins (red fluorescence). Hsp70 not completely translocated into the nucleus by the receptor can be identified in the cytoplasm by its red fluorescence label.