The immunophilin cochaperones, cyclophilin 40 (CyP40), FKBP51 and FKBP52 and PP5, a serine / threonine protein phosphatase, have been implicated as modulators of steroid receptor function through their association with Hsp90, a molecular chaperone with a key role in steroid hormone signalling. Although progress towards a satisfying definition for the role of these components in steroid receptor complexes has been slow, recent developments arising from novel approaches in both yeast and mammalian systems, together with available crystal structures for Hsp90 and some of these cochaperones, are beginning to provide important clues about their function. Hsp90, recently identified as a member of the GHKL superfamily of ATPases, is the central player in receptor assembly, an energy-driven process that allows receptor and the immunophilins to be proximally located, or to interact directly, on a Hsp90 scaffold. Immunophilin structure, relative abundance, their binding affinity for Hsp90 and their ability to interact with specific receptors may all contribute to a selective preference of the immunophilins for individual receptors. Association of receptors with different immunophilins leads to differential functional consequences for receptor activity. Observations of glucocorticoid resistance in New World primates, attributed to FKBP51 overexpression and incorporation into glucocorticoid receptor complexes, have provided the first evidence that these cochaperones can control hormone-binding affinity. Application of a yeast model to FKBP52 function in the glucocorticoid receptor system has now provided crucial evidence that this immunophilin enhances receptor transcriptional activity by increasing receptor avidity for hormone through PPIasemediated conformational changes in the ligand-binding domain. A recent novel finding suggests that hormone binding may induce a functional exchange of immunophilins in receptor complexes and that the modified complex directs receptor to the nucleus.