DAX-1 is an unusual member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily whose expression is mainly, but not uniquely, restricted to steroidogenic tissues. We have recently shown that DAX-1 can block the first and rate-limiting step in steroid biosynthesis by repressing StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) expression. Here we show that DAX-1 blocks steroid production at multiple levels in the Y-1 mouse adrenocortical tumor cell line. Expression of DAX-1 in Y-1 cells significantly impairs both basal and cAMP-stimulated steroid production, without affecting the functionality of the cAMP-responsive PKA pathway. Experiments using an hydroxylated cholesterol derivative show that biochemical steps in steroidogenesis subsequent to cholesterol delivery to mitochondria are also impaired in Y-1 cells expressing DAX-1. This is explained by the repression of P450scc and 3beta-HSD expression, in addition to StAR. DAX-1 expression in Y-1 cells results in the inhibition of the activity of the StAR, P450scc and 3beta-HSD promoters. An inappropriate steroidogenic block in the male fetus might have an important role in the pathogenesis of sex reversal syndromes caused by a duplication of the genomic region of the X chromosome containing the DAX-1 gene.