Steroid receptors activate gene transcription through recruitment of a number of coregulators to facilitate histone modification, chromatin remodeling, and general transcription machinery stabilization. Understanding the structures of full-length steroid receptor and coregulatory complexes has been difficult due to their large molecular sizes and dynamic structural conformations. Recent developments in cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) technology and proteomics have advanced the structural studies of steroid receptor complexes. Here, we will review the insights we learned from cryoEM studies of the estrogen and androgen receptor transcriptional complexes. Despite similar domain organizations, the two receptors have different coregulator interaction modes. The cryoEM structures now have revealed the fundamental differences between the two receptors and their functional mechanisms.

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