The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) exists in the absence of a ligand as a tetrameric complex composed of a 95-105 kDa ligand binding subunit, a dimer of hsp90, and the immunophilin-like X-associated protein 2 (XAP2). XAP2 has a highly conserved carboxy terminal tetratricopeptide repeat domain that is required for both hsp90 and AhR binding. Hsp 90 appears to be involved in the initial folding of newly synthesized AhR, stabilization of ligand binding conformation of the receptor, and inhibition of constitutive dimerization with ARNT. XAP2 is capable of stabilizing the AhR, as well as enhancing cytoplasmic localization of the receptor. XAP2 binds to both the AhR and hsp90 in the receptor complex, and is capable of independently binding to both hsp90 and the AhR. However, the exact functional role for XAP2 in the AhR complex remains to be fully established.
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