The ductus deferens smooth muscle tumor cell line (DDT1MF-2) contains receptors for, and is stimulated by, androgens. Cells cultured in the absence of androgens maintain a basal level of androgen receptors. Following incubation with various concentrations of the synthetic androgen methyltrienolone (R1881) for 1-6 h, the concentration of these receptors increased from 6.0 to 12.2 fmol/micrograms of DNA, while the equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) of 0.5 nM for this steroid remained unchanged. The steroid-induced increase in androgen receptor levels was specific for androgens and dependent upon protein synthesis. The mechanism of receptor augmentation was examined by utilization of isotopically dense amino acids to determine rates of receptor appearance and degradation in the presence or absence of [3H]R1881. In the absence of androgens, the half-life of the androgen receptor was 3.1 h, with a rate constant (kD) of 0.22/h. In the presence of 1 nM [3H]R1881, however, the half-life was 6.6 h, with kD = 0.11/h. The rate constant for receptor synthesis (ks) in the absence or presence of [3H]R1881 was calculated to be 1.35 and 2.23 fmol/micrograms of DNA/h, respectively. Thus, androgen-induced androgen-receptor augmentation is explained by an increase both in receptor half-life and in rates of receptor synthesis.