Conversion of the glucocorticoid receptor into a DNA-binding protein results in the generation of several distinct receptor subspecies (peaks A-E) which can be resolved by anion exchange chromatography. In vitro, the fraction of the receptor population (approx. 40%) which gains a capacity to bind DNA-cellulose is preferentially transformed into the peak A species by a process that was enhanced by the presence of KCl. At 0.4 M KCl, virtually all of the DNA-binding receptor was in the peak A form. Isolated nuclei also exhibit a receptor binding profile similar to that observed with DNA-cellulose.